My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Enjoying a lazy weekend. While reading the obituaries (bad habit of mine, I've been told many of my colleagues share this morbid habit, looking out for names of our patients) I came upon a familiar name.
Patient I admitted to the ICU 2 weeks ago. Elderly gentleman from a nursing home, with severe dementia, admitted for COPD exacerbation and a NSTEMI. He was DNR/DNI but his family allowed us to use BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) ventilation.
Although he was in some trouble, he was pleasantly demented and made no complaints. My daily "How are you feeling?" was always followed by his "Puuuurrtty good."
Pretty low maintenance guy; other than the fact that he needed the BiPAP to breathe.
He passed away a few days ago, why I don't know (I left the ICU a week ago).
Read his obit in the papers. Things you don't find out about a person as his doctor. This guy was a prisoner of war in World War II. And he got a couple of purple hearts. He had 3 kids. Wife still alive. Last living sibling from a family of 4.
From our perspective, we don't see all that. As doctors, it's always about past medical history, medications, allergies etc. And when we see the patients in the ICU it's always about blood pressure, pulses, oxygen saturation.
Well, wherever he is right now, I hope he's found peace. Me, I'm going to remember Mr. R a bit differently; with newfound awe and respect.
"How are you feeling?""Puuuuuurrtty good!"