I was reminded of the fragility of life today. I was oncall for the hospital, and had been seeing consults. Amongst them, Mr. L who was scheduled for a coronary artery bypass graft. He also had type 2 diabetes and was on several medications including insulin and so the cardiac surgeon wanted me to help out with his program.
As I was wrapping up the consult, I shook his hand and wished him well. And said he'd see me again in 2 days, after he was off the vent and extubated.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
A few hours after his surgery, he went into ventricular fibrillation, and had to be resuscitated. Though they brought him back, he went into cardiogenic shock, and had to have an intra-aortic balloon pump inserted. When I saw him post-op, it was clear the prognosis was pretty grim.
A few hours after that, he went into another episode of v-fib. This time, despite coding him and then cracking open his chest again, they could not bring him back.
It was almost surreal to me. To have met this man for the first time just yesterday and to have shared some moments with him. And today, just like that, he was gone.
It's a reminder that one never knows what might happen.
And it's a reminder to me to not take things for granted, and to not sweat the small stuff.