Monday, March 06, 2006

Last days

Not my last days, my patients' last days...or hours, or weeks. Most of the patients I've had lately have died, not on my watch, but within days or a week from when I took care of them. I learned that my patient, JL, died within two days of his emergency brain surgery the morning of my last shift with him. He never woke back up after the surgery, so I can't help thinking about things that maybe I was the last person he ever spoke to, and maybe Goonies was the last movie he ever watched because I was flipping through the channels for him and he said, "Goonies would be perfect." I took care of JL back in December as well, and for a while he got "better" and left the hospital. But this time was the first time I'd ever talked to him, since he'd been intubated previously. My other patient, JR, died last week, on comfort care. Last week, I took care of 50-yr-old GH, suffering from end-stage cancer and going home to hospice care. I wonder how much longer I'll be able to work at the oncology ICU.

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