Saturday, February 26, 2011
"You shall not pass!"
One of, if not the most difficult things I have to do is watch people die.
This, clearly, is never easy, unless you're a psychopath. (I am not)
Sometimes, it is expected; after all none of us live forever, and so sometimes it doesn't feel so bad. Especially if you can make that passing as easy for all concerned as possible, and sometimes you can.
But sometimes, you have to watch people die in the knowledge that they shouldn't be dying, and worse, that you don't know why they are, or that you can do nothing for them.
Because what we're supposed to do, is stand there, Gandulf like betwixt patient and death. Only sometimes, you're not a wizard, you're an impotent old man, with a wispy beard.
This happened once before when I was here before, in a different time, or a different life. We then, and still do, as far as I know, take dive casualties, as we have a decompression chamber on site. It might have gone.
The problem with decompression illness is that usually you are too sick to transfer, and will die without transfer. I don't know if there's a answer. I certainy didn't that day.
The patient was a young woman, with, probably, The Chokes. It's like The Bends, but involving your lungs, or the pulmonary vessels. It's having a massive PE with the only treatment a massive metal tube, too far away for me to reach.
She was blue, with crushing chest pain, hypoxic, hypotensive, dying.
I knew why, and I knew I could do nothing about it.
I've never felt so sick.
Then she got better. It was nothing to do with me. she just got better. I guess the gas emboli in her pulmonary vessels just... broke up.
Maybe God looked over my shoulder, and felt our pain.
Death passed us by that day, and I still don't know why; maybe that's best?