I need help in here redux

05/05/2009 at 5:25 AM 1 comment

I thought I had already blogged about this incident but after searching I could not find it. Forgive me if I repeat myself. This is intended to be a follow up.

About 2 or 3 weeks ago I was talking to this very kind and pleasant couple. He did most of the talking, despite being rather sick. He had pneumonia on top of a lifetime of smoking (COPD aka emphysema). He was doing well and was beginning to recover. We were actually done with the visit when he decided to mention a small long term problem he had with his hand. a couple of minutes into this he began his steep horrible descent into unconsciousness. At first it was not clear that he wasnt having a temporary episode of shortness of breath. Within seconds, however, the images of  patients with severe overwhelming strokes  flashed through my mind. There was no way this was going to turn out well, I told myself. I helped him ventilate, monitored his heart until the rescue squad came (less than 5 minutes)

He made it to the Hospital and they managed to stabilize some of his issues but he died two weeks later from the  major stroke I witnessed, complicated by his significant lung disease. 

I remember trying to prepare his wife while she waited for her daughter to come and pick her up. Was it my job to tell her what I suspected? and thereby take much of the hope away? Or let her hope for a recovery that was not going to come?

Not being very good at forseeing the future with total clarity I chose caution, hoping that perhaps he wasnt as bad as I knew him to be. Perhaps I needed to hold onto to a bit of hope also.

Had he not mentioned his hand problem, he may have been in the car driving home when that artery in his head decided to rupture. How horrible for the wife.


Entry filed under: true story. Tags: .

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