Another day, but not like other days

Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005

I went to ward round this morning, like pretty much most mornings during the surgery rotation. Our consultant was running late, like most consultants do. We talked to all of the five patients we had on the ward, which was a bit less then usual.
Whilst we were talking to the last patient on our list, and our consultant was discussing with us the virtues of a rectal exam on a person with a bowel obstruction, the Med-call alarm went off. My fellow student and I poked our heads out the curtain to see what was going on, but our consultant told us it didn't concern us, and as the surgery group we would be of no use anyway, so we went back to learning about fingers in bums.
A few minutes later, with the alarm still incessantly ringing, then increasing in the frequency, a nurse poked her head in looking for our registrar. It turned out the patient who was crashing was the last person we had spoken to. He was coughing when we had spoken to him, and he still had a light cough as we left. He had a cancer which had eroded into his aorta, and the coughing had broken it through, and he bleed out into his lungs.
We went down the other end of the ward to his room, where about 7 people were trying to save his life, and I watched him die as they tried.
The weird thing was as I was standing outside his room watching the tubes being put into his lungs, and the liters of blood being drained out, I had this fleeting though, one of my Alley McBeal moments, where what I guess could be described as his spirit or ghost walked past, and saw me watching them try to save him. I looked at him, he saw me looking at him as he walked past, and we both nodded to each other, as he then walked out of the ward a healthy man, not someone infiltrated with cancer. It wasn't a sad thought, it just was.
Then I returned back to watching the team, as they stepped back, and he died.
I'm just sharing an observation here. As I said, it wasn't a sad moment, and in a way, even though this man probably wasn't fully aware of how sick he was, his death wasn't so much a tragedy, as just another day, where people die, their families grieve, and we get on with the job of helping those we can.


At 6:02 pm, Anonymous Adonis said...

thank u for ur honest and frank sharing. An interesting insight into ur world as u know it.


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