Saturday, July 19, 2008

This is what I do.

So, yellow man died of alveolar hemorrhage at another hospital. I just found out at work today. Wife and kids. Young kids. Acute myelogenous leukemia. This is what leukemia does. It steals your life. That man was my first real patient. I shaved his head when chemo hit. I guess he's dead now.

I can't tell you how strange it all is. I can try, though. He was young (late thirties/early forties), really good looking, in good shape. Competent and strong-willed like a man should be.

The numbers become people. I talked about numbers earlier. But the trouble is, when I think about each of these room numbers, I remember a person in that room who died. 2 is yellow man. 6 is the woman who died when we turned her. That happens sometimes. When you turn a patient, sometimes it quickens death. 7 is yellower man whose room smelled like mint. We put mint menthol in the room, because his necrotic tissue was really strong smelling. 14 is beautiful man, the one that looked sicker than anyone I'd seen yet. His dog came to visit here. And he said that he had a lifetime high after showering with a nurse. Then there was Candy. She died recently, too, and her face is ever etched in my mind. She made me think about the Father's love for us. Because she was so helpless. She was a mess. And we cleaned her up over and over and over. And you just had to love her. You had compassion on her so easily. It wasn't hard to take good care of her.

A man had "exploratory surgery" today. That means they can't figure out what's going on, so they open you up to try to find out. He had a bowel obstruction; couldn't poop. It wouldn't resolve. When they opened him up, they found cancer. He was full of cancer. So they closed him back up again. Six months to live.

There's some sort of comfort about people grieving and everyone knowing why. I can't describe it. People are crying, and it's normal. Nobody's telling you that you shouldn't cry. They're just letting you grieve. They're just being there when you're grieving. They're hanging out and getting you what you need, no matter what it is. Even if it's your dog. That's what nurses here do. That's what I do. I take care of the things they forget to take care of. I watch out for their bodies. I watch out for their families. I touch their hands or their feet. I clean them up. I help them fall asleep. I help them breathe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I said that when you and I weren't really friends yet. Sure we might have talked a few times about things, important things. But then I said it. And maybe we wouldn't be friend now if I didn't. I know a girl who's afraid of boys, of close relationships because she's messed hers up once.
anyway you weren't supposed to read the whole freakin thing. But I figured you would eventually, because you're you. The real question is could you be very close to someone you didn't like in the first place? this is really all I wanted. I don't know why you were glad about me being straight though. what would be the difference to you