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Quiet time in the ICU... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
Quiet time in the ICU...
7 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
deadrose From: deadrose Date: November 25th, 2005 03:31 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I sympathize, and in a small way, I understand. I still carry around the memory of a patient I often cared for, back when I was an aide in a large nursing home years ago.

He was 42 when I met him. Successful businessman, lovely wife, sweet kids; had an MI and the aid car got lost in the cul-de-sacs of the wealthy suburb. By the time he was resuscitated, the physical damage was done. Brain damage, spasticity, I'm sure you can imagine. Then the emotional damage hit: his wife put him in the nursing home, didn't bother to unpack his things, just left the cardboard boxes and walked out of his life. Neither she or the kids ever came to the home after that.

So there he was, warehoused in a nursing home where most of the staff treated him the same way they did the moribund Alzheimers patients. He quit speaking, just stared at the tv all day.

I tried, despite the horrible patient loads we had (and this was supposed to be one of the really good places) to take enough time with him at meals, to be patient as he fought to swallow.... and just to talk to him, to treat him like a fellow human being. One day though, I just couldn't go back in there again. The place had pretty much eaten me alive.

He died a few weeks later of aspiration pneumonia. I've always felt guilty that I couldn't hack the job, couldn't stay there and try to look out for his needs (I suspect my cousin with severe CP has a lot to do with this), that I couldn't singlehandedly change the lack of treatment from the staff, or the attitude of his wife.

Anyway, that's why your story brought a lump into my throat and a major wave of empathy. I'm still thankful to have met that patient, but I'll always regret that I couldn't do enough.

PS: Wish my dad luck, he's having to sit his boards again next week, and having a hell of a time getting up to speed on all the specialties (such as OB and surgery) that he hasn't practiced in years. He can't afford the malpractice insurance, but he still has to know every new treatment, every new drug. You know, just in case he's walking down the street and someone grabs him and throws him into a fully-equipped hospital with no doctors and a woman in labor with a placenta previa. *snort*
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: November 25th, 2005 11:03 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Best of luck to him. Recerts are wicked.
7 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word