Feb. 7th, 2007

rewritethepast: (resignation)
My first death.

My first death.

I knew it would eventually happen, but I didn’t think it would be this soon. I'm not even in med proper, for goodness sake.

But I really couldn’t do anything; when we entered the ward area, they were already doing a cardiac massage and using an ambibag on the patient. My friend and I asked some nurses if the person was dying and they said that it was a normal routine thing. We were dubious (because the cardiac massage seemed so urgent), but we nodded and moved on.

After watching our nurse (whom we shadowed for the day) do nasal feeding (which I have discussed weeks ago), we went to someone’s hospital bed and helped in cleaning her forced wound. I say “forced” because the lady had a tube inserted in her body (and I mean that there was a large long tube that entered her side; the tube’s cross-sectional diameter was nearly the size of a 25 centavo coin) to help drain phlegm from her lungs. We used betadine, soaking some cotton balls in it and applying them to the area radially outward from the wound. Then we heard it.

I’ll never forget that sound in my whole life. I swear I’ll never forget it.

It was a desperate, disbelieving cry that tore at my heart and broke it into a million pieces. The four of us looked in the direction the sound was coming from and it was a woman clutching the body of the patient we saw earlier getting a cardiac massage who was screaming and crying and...

I remember the words the nurse we shadowed told us when we asked her if the patient was dead; they burrowed deep in my mind and my heart and echo in my ears as I now try and solve stoichiometry problems as practice for our Chem Departmental Exam this Saturday.

“Oo, normal na yan. Pag bago ka, iisipin mo na sana may nagawa ka pa para buhay pa siya. Pero mawawala rin iyan, nagiging normal nalang.”

When I shadowed a nurse in Ward 3, he told me that he would always remember the day a patient of his died (the first one assigned to him who died) – December 22, 2005 (well, either 22th or 24th – my memory is going bad again). He told us the same thing: the first patient will always be the one burned in one’s memory.

I keep seeing the scene play out in my mind. The woman screaming as she held the patient and the nurses going about their business like nothing life-changing had happened. Some of the patients looking on from their own beds and others just asleep or otherwise uninterested.

The four of us assigned to Ward 1, looking at it from a short distance and not being able to do anything at all.

I couldn’t have done anything. None of us could. The patient had so many diseases (we read the Clinical Abstract but couldn’t understand the doctor’s/nurse’s handwriting) and has had labored breathing for a long time already, a medical clerk told us. The patient had so many problems, some of them dating back to 1998. We just came when it was Code Red already; we were there when her life was extinguished like a finger does to a weakened flame.

The nurse told us that cardiac massage was a normal procedure and there was nothing to worry about, yet when I researched it using the internet later I found out it is used when the patient had already gone into cardiac arrest. Perhaps it is normal in this ward… I don’t know the death rate of patients in PGH. Maybe they didn’t want to scare us… we looked so young compared to the interns and medical clerks and everyone else surrounding us.

Eventually the woman stopped crying, and a nurse appeared to detach the stuff hooked up to the patient. White dividers were placed around the bed, and the nurse did her work like she’s done it a hundred times before. Maybe she has.

I didn’t even find out her name.

I don’t know why, but that seems important.

I hate this feeling of helplessness. I was nothing but a spectator to this death, which may have been normal to the veterans of PGH yet has changed the life of the woman crying because of her. I know I’m just a first year student. I know I couldn’t have done anything to help.

Yet I still hate myself for not being able to do anything.

I don’t ever want to feel this again. I don’t ever want to watch a life snuff out right before my eyes like this again, with the world having to quickly return to normal.

But I know I’ll feel this again, I’ll feel this a thousand times even as I become more learned and understand more the medical explanations behind each death, each life-threatening disease. I think my heart will still break with every death I witness, and my world will be thrust into darkness and I’ll struggle to break free so I can try again to make a better myself to try and prevent any more of this. The cycle will go on and on and on and eventually death will become familiar to me.

I hate this feeling.

But I’d rather feel it and hate it than feel nothing at all.

***

Would it had been better had I not seen it today?

No, it wouldn’t.

I would be happier, yes, but it’s better to see it now instead of pretending that the path I takes leads to many more situations where nothing more can be done, where lives just flutter away like a butterfly with wings.

I’ve been wearing a blindfold in Intarmed. Sometimes the blindfold slips down and I catch a glimpse of something yet it fixes itself and I can continue my life like nothing had happened.

I feel that right now the blindfold has been yanked off, my eyes seeing exactly what the world has in store for me.

I don’t think I want to find it and put it back over my eyes again.

***

This is for you, Nya :)

Well, and anyone who wants to see my jellyfish stuffed toy with my newly-acquired shrimp stuffed toy :)

The cnidarian and the crustacean (?). )

***

It's a superduck :) )

***

And why do we play with them, subject them to stimuli that would be considered inhumane had the subjects been like us? )

***

Belated happy birthday Kel-san ^^

And advanced happy birthday to Anne, my fellow legal classmate who’s the only one older than me in the whole of Intarmed.

***

It was a fly’s wing. )

***

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Yay strawberries!!!!

Infinitely more healthy than what I normally eat (cup noodles, fastfood offerings and potato chips)!

***

Sometimes I wish you’d read my blog.

But then I think that it’s better that you don’t (to my knowledge) because you might think I’m obsessed with you and what you think of me.

I’m not.

I just wonder what you’ll think of me, comparing the me expressed with words and the me that interacts with you and making a conclusion as to who I really am.

I wonder which one you’d prefer.

***

One week to go before it's the day again, and I wonder if I'll forget about it with the numerous requirements that threaten to engulf me.

Yet I don't think I can forget, because it may not be tattooed on my skin yet it's made an indelible mark on my soul.





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