Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Drained...

Was oncall again last night. Wasn't too bad a night, but my junior and I both felt really emotionally drained. So did the nurses. Mainly because of that one patient, young middle-aged male who tried to kill himself after losing his job (and other personal issues). Drank rat poison, weedkiller, paint stripper, hydrochloric acid and sleeping pills. Kept seizing, and was just drooling like crazy (effects from the weedkiller). He was intubated before he was flown to us.
The thing that did us in was his suicide note he left for his wife. I suppose he didn't expect to be found until after he was dead. And I felt like I was reading a personal letter to his spouse (which I was, but we had to document everything). And it just tore into our hearts and minds, reading about how torn and guilty he felt, how much he loved his family but felt like there was no way out but this.
He's young. In many ways I'm praying that we can save him. But somewhere deep inside, we were thinking too that it may be best that he died, because when someone decides to ingest corrosive chemicals like that, it just burns and scars the esophagus and gut so badly that even if they survive, everything else needs to be surgically taken out, and they live a life of misery (sometimes on IV nutrition lifelong). But, we do all we can. And pray for the best.
Have seen patients threaten suicide (usually to get attention) by taking some things. But some things people should never take just to seek attention (obviously, people should never attempt suicide just for attention. That's beyond stupid). Acetaminophen is one, coz if they come in too late for us to help them, it's a slow ugly death and it gives them plenty of time to regret and cry. Chemicals are another; they can cause irreparable GI damage. Burns a hole in the gut.
Days like this, I wish family or loved ones were near. Then again, it's often hard to explain to someone outside of medicine what we feel. So sometimes it's better to just be alone until one gets out of the dumps.

4 Comments:

Blogger Watch 'n Wait said...

Man, there are times when I believe you have the toughest job in the world. Bless your heart for taking it on.

12:38 AM  
Blogger 5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

A woman drank paraquat and was dying. Somehow, through some weird coincidences (I rather see it as God's will)she sms me on her last few days (she can't talk due to the ventilator) and I managed to get her to reconcile with her mom and she died within hours after that. She wanted me to be the guardian for her 10 yrs old daughter but I declined and left it to the grandma. Thanks for sharing this, it makes doctors, 'human'.

11:55 AM  
Blogger 5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

A woman drank paraquat and was dying. Somehow, through some weird coincidences (I rather see it as God's will)she sms me on her last few days (she can't talk due to the ventilator) and I managed to get her to reconcile with her mom and she died within hours after that. She wanted me to be the guardian for her 10 yrs old daughter but I declined and left it to the grandma. Thanks for sharing this, it makes doctors, 'human'.

11:55 AM  
Blogger PaulOS said...

Suicide.. it really strikes us numb. Vagus me thinks, you're doing well over there. Not some heartless doc with a God-complex, but with a God-awareness. I think in hopeless feelings like these, we need to thank Him for a right perspective of things, and that we need to be close to Him, to know that there are things beyond us and our control, because it's in His hands.

11:17 PM  

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