I have no excuses for my extended hiatus, so I won’t even try to make any.
Had a patient for a while, you know, the one’s you just can’t help but falling in love with them and their families. I remember the day I admitted him, I said to myself, please God, let them send him home so he doesn’t have to die here. This might sound harsh to some but he was still in good spirits, still capable of taking care of himself and enjoying life for a little longer regardless of being saturated with cancer. He was inoperable, and not a candidate for chemo due to longstanding infections with his PTC drain. Alas, as I deep down knew, he would remain until his last days in my care.
Day after day, week after week, I became so frustrated. I would ask his family if they had been approached about palliative measures.. According to them, the surgical team were not ready to have that discussion… Now I understand a surgeon’s fundamental job is to go in and fix the problems, slice and dice, dissect away but one must ask – AT WHAT COST AND FOR WHAT OUTCOMES?
In the end, I went in to visit him and his family. He was now totally sedated, and was so obviously in his last moments. This particular patients family asked me for my cellphone number so they could contact me about the funeral arrangements. Now I believe in this line of work, everyone needs to draw a personal line, one where, if you crossed it, you’d jeopardize your sanity.
My line is funerals.
I can give myself 110% during my twelve hours, but after that, I can’t take my patients home with me. I care, but one must always be careful, at what cost?
What is your line?