Bean's World

Monday, February 12, 2007

Carpe Diem

It's 3am and I have just spent the past couple of hours doing my staying up all night the night before I have to work routine, where I can sit in the quiet, reading blogs, catching up on what is going on with other people's lives. There is a blog, that I have been checking in with from time to time, which has been written by a patient (or by his wife when he has been unable) that I took care of last November. When I took care of him in the Thoracic ICU, he was recovering from having part of his esophagus removed due to esophageal cancer.

Most of the patients that I take care of I never think about again once I walk through the doors of the hospital on the way home. It may sound callous, but you can't take all of these patients home with you. However, there are always a few that will forever pervade your mind. Some of these are sad stories, and some of them are happy.

This patient that I took care of last November is one that I have often thought about, wondering what he has been up to, and how is he doing. The recovery from the surgery that he had in November went very well. In fact, I remember him telling me that the surgeon told him that he should be the "poster child" for the surgery he went through. We talked about his life, his children, his wife, and his love for music. We talked about many things throughout the course of the night. The thing that struck me most about him was his upbeat outlook on life, his energy, and his will to live. He had been diagnosed in July of 2006 and had already been through a lot, dealing with all of the treatments that he had to undergo. It never seemed to beat him down though, and that to me, is absolutely amazing.

It had been over a month since I had checked in with his blog to see how he was doing. Unfortunately, tonight I found out that his cancer had reoccurred, he had taken a turn for the worse, and that he passed away on February 6th.

And all I have to say is that f***ing sucks. Here was a person that had so much life in him left to live, and yet he only got to live half of it. He was a good husband, a good father, and a good friend, and what does he get for it? Now his family has to somehow find a way to move on with their lives without him. What a crock.

His wife wrote the last post, which described the last days of his life. I was glad to hear that in his last days under hospice care, he was comfortable, and surrounded by his loving family and friends. I suppose if you have to move on from this world, that would have to be the best way to go. The amazing thing is that his wife doesn't sound angry or bitter. In fact, she sounds like she is really at peace with the world. I can't imagine having to go through something like that.

Losing someone that I love so dearly (i.e. my husband) is by far one of the biggest fears that I have in my life. It is something that I have realized as I have seen it happen time and again through my work. It just kills me when bad stuff happens to good people. It's absolutely just not fair. Especially when it happens to one of the few whom I really thought was going to make it, and more importantly, really deserved to make it.

I shall always remember this patient of mine for his incredible outlook on life, despite the grave prospects of the disease he so bravely fought. By meeting people like him, I have learned to try to adapt a more positive outlook on life, and to appreciate each day that I have on this earth. I wish nothing but the best to him and his family. And with any luck, right now, he is grilling out, black and tan in hand, watching the Patriots kick butt on the TV!


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