My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I was heartbroken by the events I heard about today. I saw Matt for follow up of his diabetes. I had known him for the last 2 years, and we've had a pretty good relationship. He has worked hard all his life, and for the last year he had been planning his retirement. He was excited at the prospect of finally slowing down, and spending time on carpentry, his hobby. I last saw him in January.
Today, his outlook was completely different. He seemed saddened, almost tearful. 2 months ago, his wife of 33 years was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. She had undergone surgery, and just yesterday had a portacath placement in anticipation of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she developed a pneumothorax, and required hospitalization and a chest tube.
He shared how they had dreams to travel. How his wife was so guilty that she actually apologized to him because she ruined his retirement plans. About how this was not a priority for him though he would have to work indefinitely, to keep their employer-subsidized health insurance to pay for her treatment. Knowing how much he was looking forward to retirement, I know this must not have been easy for him.
There wasn't much to do for his diabetes; I just made some adjustments to his insulin pump. But I spent the next 10 mins just listening to him, letting him share his emotions, his fears. I listened as he was telling me in other words how much he loved his wife, and how afraid he was of losing her. I had to keep from tearing up.
After he left, I sent some flowers to his wife's hospital room. And said a little prayer for them.
Sometimes, these things just tear you up inside.