I realize that most of my posts these days seem to be about my job. Sorry. But here's another one.
One of my patients died this morning. This has happened a few times to people I was taking care of, but this patient is one whom I admitted to the hospital and have been taking care of for a few days now. She didn't even seem that sick when we brought her in- she'd been falling down more and having increasing trouble with confusion. She had many health problems, but we were trying to figure out why she was dizzy. We did various tests over the course of a few days, and nothing really came up, and we even started thinking about sending her home. But then, rather suddenly, her blood pressure dropped and stayed very low. We put her on medicine to keep it up, and started giving her lots of fluids. Still it didn't come up. She was obviously a beloved lady with lots of family who all began to come in to see her. We made her as comfortable as we could, and I felt like I got to know her family fairly well. They were believers, as was this patient.
This morning, she really looked sick and it was decided to stop the fluids since we could no longer help her. Within minutes, she was gone. I came into the room, listened for a heart beat, but heard nothing. I got to pray with her family, praising God for her life, and for his promise that we can live with him eternally through the death of his son, and know that she had loved him, too.
It sounds strange to write, but it was a good experience. For my whole life until this point, I have been dreaming about a time when I can DO something to heal and comfort others. Death is never happy, but this dear lady had suffered with poor health for so long, and passed away quickly and surrounded by those who loved her. I mourned with her family who will miss her and recognized that part of what I love about my job is that I am finally able to use the skills God has given me to comfort people in times of stress and sadness, in a way that was not possible before I was a doctor.
That, to me, is what medicine is all about.