Tonight at work I helped someone get ready to die

We have medical assistance in dying (maid) here in Canada. Where I work we have a resident who is going to be having maid in the morning. Tonight I gave them their last bath. I washed their hair and body, clipped and cleaned their nails. I let them soak in a warm bubble bath for as long as they wished and draped their shoulders and head in hot cloths so no part of them was chilly.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a fun experience but I got caught off guard by the state of their body and how similar they looked to my mom when she started her cancer battle last year - bloated, hard abdomen and purple, blotchy skin.

I was able to mostly keep it together and, when I did get a bit teary eyed, it was when they couldn’t see me. But after I went for my break and I sat in my car and absolutely broke down and sobbed. It was exhausting.

While I was very emotional it wasn’t so much at the situation but because it hit close to home. I very strongly believe in a person’s right to choose their own exit plan and this was my first up close experience and certainly my first time participating in anyway and now I think I want to move down the hall to the palliative ward.

I got teary eyed just reading your op I can’t even imagine actually being there.

Thank you for your service @FloatyGimpy! You did good.

I’m going to echo @Grrr: you did good.

This person will move on, knowing that they were well-groomed and clean, and perhaps most importantly, knowing that they were cared for in their last hours by a very kind person. That would undoubtedly be comforting to them. Not sure what else to say, but to repeat Grrr’s remark: you did good. Thank you.

Very touching. Thanks.

Oh Floaty, from someone who would like to choose this sort of ending for myself, thank you for giving such a wonderful gift to a fellow human.

Keeping my shoulders warm would be the exact thing I’d want in a warm bath.

Caring for another-what a wonderful gift to the both of you.

Thanks for your act of kindness towards someone who really needed it. As difficult as it was for you, you did a good thing.

Out of curiosity, is your employer officially involved in the resident’s MAID, or was it just the resident’s choice to share that information with you? My mom received a medically assisted death several years ago, but her assisted-living facility (where it happened) wasn’t involved and wasn’t aware of it; she (and we) weren’t comfortable informing the staff, as we didn’t want any potential for attempts at interference. I don’t think any of us who were present have had second thoughts about that, but OTOH it’s nice to know that your resident was being cared for in their final hours by someone who was fully aware of what they were going through and who fully respected their choice.

You are an angel. What a wonderful thing you have done.

We are fully involved. Our regular doctor will be the one to administer the meds with the help of our nurses. Last night we put flowers and chairs in the room where it will happen.The residents family will be arriving shortly and they will have a small ceremony.

I should add that this is the very first one at our facility so we’re learning as we go. An email went out telling staff that nobody who is uncomfortable with maid would be forced to participate in any way. At the same time anyone who would like to help in any way should come forward. I am one of the bathers and I volunteered to give them a nice bath.

While I have moral qualms with “maid”, it is never wrong to be kind to a dying person. Indeed, to give such a gift to someone who will not be able to repay the kindness is truly one of the most selfless acts of kindness possible.

You did good.

The fact it was moving/upsetting/induced tears just says that you are a sensitive, caring person who understands the gravity of this point in time for the resident, the family, the friends, and anyone else who has had contact with this person or will in their remaining time. It shows your humanity and decency.

You are good.

Joining in the chorus: thank you. You have done a good thing.

You said you were thinking of moving to palliative care – that means you would keep working with people some of whom who will avail themselves of MAID, correct?

I could be, yes. It’s not that common though. This is the first one at our facility since maid became legal in 2016.

I get the impression that there are a lot more people who want to be sure that they can use it if necessary than there are people who do find it necessary.

I work at two facilities and at the other one they did have somebody use maid but I wasn’t there or involved in anyway.

You did honorable work, and I can only hope we all get similar care and compassion during our final hours.

I can only echo what everyone else has said.

Everything went very smoothly. They were surround by their family who told them how much they were loved. Hugs and holding hands and then they peacefully went to sleep. Everyone should be so lucky to have such a passing.

Thank you for sharing this. It’s an important facet in the discussion around everyone’s end of life. I hope when it’s my turn I have someone like you around.

I want to add my thanks for sharing this. This was an act of kindness.