Too hoarse to talk . . . but alive

13 07 2010

Following up from the last post.  Mr. “I looked death in the eyes, and took his candy.” is now hanging out in the ICU.  I went to visit him on post-resuscitation day #2.  He had lasted through the rest of that night and the following day.  Incredibly, when I came back to work, he had just been extubated, and he was now breathing on his own.  When I walked into the ICU, the nurses called out, “Are your ears burning?”

“Should they be?”

“We were just talking about you.”

“uh-oh”

“You were so calm during the code.  We thought you were great.”

“I did what any other doc would have done.”

I walked into the room to find the patient’s wife and sister sitting next to the his bed.  He was sitting upright with an oxygen mask on, but no tube in his throat, and no ventilator pumping away.  I reintroduced myself to his family, who remembered me.  I introduced myself to the patient, who didn’t.

“Hi, I’m Jeff, you don’t know who I am.  That’s okay.  How are you feeling?”

He tried to talk, but his vocal cords were still hamburgered from the trauma of having a large plastic tube shoved through them.  He tried to whisper some words, but then gave up, exhausted.

“No need to talk, you should rest. You looked pretty rough the last time I saw you.”  In fact, his eyes were fixed and dilated.

His wife’s eyes started welling up with tears, and she thanked me.

“I did what any other doc would have done.”

“But it was you.”

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just wished them well and went back to the ER.  His wife didn’t know that I was on the verge of calling it not long after he showed up at the ambulance doors.  She didn’t know that I gave him little chance of survival, much less coming out of this neurologically intact.  She didn’t know that I can hardly bear to continue to work in the ER anymore.  I suppose that’s all for the better.  But she didn’t know it’s patients like her husband that make what I do just tolerable enough to justify all the crap that comes through the ER doors on most every other day.

Had a great epic ride with Team Alchemist up and around Super Hall. Travis (former “Bachelor Paris” and current star of “The Doctors”) Stork joined us for the ride.  Nejla and David were game too.  Very impressive since they were coming from Austin, Texas, and had no idea that the ride was going to be as big as it was.  More details, video and pics in the next post.  Time for bed now.

-jeff


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One response

20 07 2010
Vivienne Palmer

Did you actually give that guy the t-shirt?

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