Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm not sure about this one. Clearly there are some things that no-one else needs to know about; maybe I need to write it. You don't need to read it tho'...

Action in the resus room, usually fills me with an unhealthy glee. Achance for action! for derring-do! heroics! (or flailing, of which more after this god-awful set of nights...)

But it paints the most dreadful pictures too.

When the call came for a patient found down, and not seen for 10 days, all the 'joy' went out of the room; at first we thought it might be a prank. I know that doesn't sound funny, but the ED breeds its own variety of humour. Think about it - everything's funny for a certain value of the word 'funny'.

It wasn't a prank.

I've always believed a person would be hard pushed to stay alive much longer than 4 days without water. In the end, this one made it 9, we think. I don't know how they ended up on the floor, but the pressure sores made it clear they hadn't moved much. Deep, leathery, abutting bone; teeth eroding through the top lip. A smell all at once reminiscent of public urinals at the end of a big night, the morgue on a hot day, and something deeper and darker - earthy and ripe. One eye swollen shut, but the other staring helplessly out.

Dear God, let him be unconscious; I'd like to tell myself he was unaware, that all was dark to him.

But I'm afraid that wasn't true. I'll never know, for sure, but in my heart, I'm terrified that he knew. That he felt. What had become of him.

I'm sure there are worse things to behold - in war, in starvation, in poverty... I just haven't seen any of them. I've no idea what this person was like in life; they sure as hell fought hard enough to stay alive... I just don't know if that's enough.

Sometimes we can't even give you your dignity, no matter how hard we want to, how hard we try.

When that happens, is it enough that we tried?

What good are we? I'm not sure...


Anonymous said...

That's terrible shroom, a haunting description. How do you move on to the next patient after seeing something like that?

DrShroom said...

Clearly I'd like to pretend there's some steely minded, stiff upper lip heroism at work.
Bollocks, and you all know it.
Move on, go home, drink, then vent somehow. I choose to blog, and hope all the repressed emotion doesn't cause me to crack when I hit 40...