and when she speaks
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I survived my two first call nights in the hospital, one on Friday night in the ER and the other just last night; Sunday night on MTU.Can u believe I hardly ate at all yesterday- all I had were 4 miserable granola bars to last me- and all I could think of whilst in bed was - F.O.O.D. Then again, on my first call night, my resident ordered pizza and pop and for midnight supper, we had Tim Hortons donuts :)Walking out of my call bed room at around 3am in the hospital, as quiet as it was, it sure felt liberating.Feels as though you own the whole place. And the whole place is yours to explore.I haven't caught up sleep from yesterday and last night's call duty yet- I had tonnes to do- grocery, laundry, cleaning up... But this incident as I was in the elevator going to the ground floor made my day :)This old man being pushed in a wheelchair said cheekily : Im surrounded by beautiful ladies.And this guy in the back said 'Why, thank you' sarcastically- cos' he's a GUY.Then, as that guy left the elevator with the other ladies leaving me behind with the wheelchair bound fella, I waved goodbye and said 'Bye, beautiful lady ;)'Then, the wheelchair bound fella added: 'Now, Ive got this pretty one all to myself'His pusher smirked 'He is one sweet talker, isn't he?'He sure is. The hospital might be a place where sick people come- but amidst all that, it's also a place where cheekiness and joy can reign too.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
It is now Sunday noon and as I am typing this, I am in the hospital.I came in this morning and I was told my 92 year old patient had a massive GI bleed last night.And to think, this was the patient whom I thought could be discharged when she was put under my charge the first two days.Here is a tiny fragile old lady who weighs only 40 kilos.She massively deteriorated within a period of 3 days with a bout of C. diff enterocolitis, shock with severe hypotension and now, BRBPR- bright red blood per rectum (which basically means she was poo-ing blood)I went to see her this morning with my staff doctor.MY staff doctor was discussing with the nurse standing by, about her medical treatment and I saw that she wanted to say something but stopped short when my staff Dr. continued talking. I noticed she didn't continue but it would have been something she'd have wanted to let out.So, I nudged her and I asked her out loud (because she's deaf) : "I noticed you wanted to say something Mrs..., what was it?" and I stroked her hand like how she always liked... Like how she was when they were taking blood from her artery and she didnt once wince despite the pain most wouldn't tolerate.She said: 'Oh I just wanted to say goodbye' with eyes staring blankly upwards.I didn't hear clearly the first time. 'Sorry, Mrs...?''I just wanted to say goodbye dear'And I could feel the tears welling up somewhere inside me.I said 'Im coming to see you later Mrs...'She said 'It's about to end.'My staff was so blur. He asked 'What's about to end ?'The nurse at this point, probably bemused by his thickness, jumped in and answered him 'Her life.'The emotional well within me was starting. But nothing came out on my face.I just felt so ... I don't think sad is the word. Touched? Felt pangs of sadness? It doesn't come close to how I felt. ... I went to wash my hands for quite awhile just trying to hold myself together. It isn't easy especially when you hear the words she said. And know that there's truth in there and that she knows she's going to die. And all you can do is be there for her.Her daughter came. This was the same daughter who cried to me on my second day. My doctor and I took her to a private room and told her. She was in tears and I sat next to her. I was in control of my feelings- I had to. This is the time you're supposed to be their support pillar. All I could do was comfort her.Then the doctor left her to cry. I asked her if she wanted me to be there and ...before I could finish my sentence, I broke too. The Kleenex was our best friend when we were in that room. LOL.She laughed in the midst of her streaming tears and said 'Sweetie, you can't get too involved in this'I laughed too 'I know but I can't help it. I've taken care of her and I know her'She told me everything about her mother and I know she felt guilty for not being able to come last night - because she isn't able to drive at night.I told her 'I don't want you to feel it's your fault at all, because your mother wouldn't have wanted that too'She realised that too, but just needed to hear words of reassurance. We talked about her mum and laughed over her. The tears and laughter was good for both of us.For me, it was a catharsis. For her, she was now ready to face the truth and handle the reality.She joked once more 'You can't get too emotionally involved in all your patients, you know.'I said 'She's my very first patient and taking care of her was one of the best things I'd done'She hugged me one time and said 'You're such a sweetie. Thank you.'I stood there, feeling much better.One last Kleenex and she cleaned up to see her mum and I did too, to see my staff doctor ;)This is to her:The lady who's a trooper all the way. The one who laughs and says someone had put blusher on her when I mention to her that her cheeks are rosy pink.The one who's shown me strength even when one's so fragile.My very first patient.