The following is another nursing story submitted to us. The names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent (or guilty), and to respect the patient and nurse’s privacy, and to comply with HIPAA.
The Mysterious Death Watcher Man: A Nurse Story
Submitted by: The Nervous Nurse Girl
My shift started out relatively normal. I punched in at the time clock, got my report from the snappy nurse who had worked nights, and began to check on my patients. I had 3 patients that day, and they were all in stable condition. The only exception was this one elderly patient I had. Her vitals were a little off, and her past history was quite bad.
The poor lady had been through a lot–cancer, the death of her husband, diabetes, an amputation–and now, serious heart disease. She was in her upper 80’s, which didn’t exactly brighten the outlook either. She was so sweet though, and she had 3 loving daughters that were there with her. I am always relieved when family shows up to help provide comfort for patients when they are in the hospital.
Anyway, my patient’s shaky vitals were already making me nervous. I am always on pins and needles when I have patients with a lot of past health problems, as I always fear them coding or dying on me, and this patient had me nervous from the beginning of my shift. Something just didn’t’ feel right in my gut, and I was worried things may go sour.
It all went well for the first few hours. I had the glamorous duties of cleaning up feces, getting nearly hit in the face by a dementia patient, and being requested by the call light almost hourly for new pain medications by a (likely) drug user. Hmm, speaking of that call light– I’d like to meet the inventor of those call lights in a dark alley one night… But hey, that’s just part of the territory in nursing. You know the drill.
Around 12:00 p.m., my elderly patient began having trouble. Her vital signs were getting worse and worse. I had given her all of the medications prescribed by her doctor, but her vitals weren’t improving. She also started to slip in-and-out of consciousness, which told me that she was in serious trouble. I immediately got on the phone with the doctor and explained the situation. He advised me on the new medications to give, and I administered them immediately.
She seemed to stabilize, but her vitals were still low.
Then, about 2 hours later…it happened. My patient started coding. This was the first code I had experienced since becoming a nurse, so you can imagine the anxiety I was feeling. I rounded up a couple of other nurses to help me, and we all rushed in and began doing everything we could to improve her vitals.
During all of this, the patient was acting so strangely. Her vitals would begin to crash, and then her daughters would scream out (while crying)…”No Momma! Please come back!” Then her vitals would temporarily improve and she would re-gain semi-consciousness. Then the patient would begin to crash again, and the daughters would begin screaming again, “Oh no momma. Please God, no. Momma stay with us.” Her vitals would improve again. This went on for probably 30 minutes. Her vitals would crash, the daughters would scream out, and her vitals would improve.
During this whole emotional mess, my heart was pounding, and tears were slowly trickling down my cheeks from the emotional display of the family. Plus, she was a really sweet lady, and I felt so sorry for her. I wanted to do everything I could to save her.
It was about that time that we all noticed something strange: An old man standing in the room watching us.
At first I didn’t know what to do–I didn’t know if he was perhaps a relative or what. I’d certainly never seen him before while working. He was a very old man, maybe in his 70’s. He had gray hair, and was wearing a suit. A family member looked at me and said, “Who is that, and what is he doing in here?” I replied, “You mean you don’t know this man?” All of them shook their head no.
He was so creepy–he was just standing there watching us. It was as if he knew she was going to die, and wanted to see what happened. He had an emotionless look on his face too. It was so eerie. His eyes were fixated on my poor dying patient.
So I frantically looked at the man and sharply said, “Sir, please get out of here. Now.” He just stood there and slowly backed up as if he was slowly going to back out of the room. I then turned back and continued working on the patient doing everything I could to stabilize her.
After another minute or two, she was dead. Everyone in the room was crying, including me. It was perhaps the most emotional death I have ever witnessed–even to this day. The daughters just did NOT want their mother to die. It was so odd how she continued to get better each time they would cry out, right up until the end.
I walked out of the room in an attempt to regain my composure. I was flustered, saddened, crying, and a nervous wreck.
I walked up to a nurse and said, “Were did that old man go? Who was he?” The nurse replied, “What old man?” I said, “There was some old man who was standing in my patient’s room. He was wearing a suit. Did you see where he went?”
“I haven’t seen anyone out here,” she said. About that time, another nurse who had overheard our conversation said, “I know who you are talking about. I haven’t seen him today, but I’ve seen him here before. He was in the room of another person who died recently doing the exact same thing. We have no clue who he is. How weird. That gave me chills.”
At that point, I began walking up and down the halls, looking into every open door in an attempt to find this man. He was nowhere to be found. I began to wonder if I was losing my mind.
No one knew who this guy was, and I asked everyone working that night. He didn’t work there, and we couldn’t find him on the entire floor. He wasn’t visiting any of the patients on our floor either. Who was he? What was he?
I asked people on various shifts for the next week or two if they had seen him again, or if they knew who he was. No one had a clue who he was, and they hadn’t seen him again. To this day I still wonder what he was doing.
Some people claim he was a ghost (some nurses swear our floor is haunted anyway). Others suggested he was an angel coming to take the dying patient. Still others thought that maybe he was just some creepy old man with a disturbing fetish of watching people die, or that maybe he was visiting someone on another floor and was just strolling around. Or perhaps he was just a guy with far too much time on his hands.
I’ll never know for sure. But I never saw this man again–WHOEVER or WHATEVER he was.
But if you ever see an old man with gray hair, dressed in a suit, and intruding on the death of a patient—it may just be him. Beware.