- Tell me your complaint, sir.
- "I... can't breathe...I have...pain".
- When did your complaints begin, sir?
The patient stopped talking, probably he got too exhausted and preferred to pretend like he had fallen asleep. Then his wife interrupted:
- "After he started his radiotherapy".
After a little while, I got his whole health history. He was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer about a year ago. He's an active smoker and he still enjoys alcohol. He has a beautiful wife and a handsome adolescent son, yet he weighs no more than 100 pounds. He's worn out, one can count all the bones on his face without even trying. But he hasn't lost consciousness yet, he's cooperative and oriented. He can do all the tasks you ask for, unless they're hard to do physically.
After I got his history and did my examination, I called my senior to get an opinion about what to order for his medication. My senior told me that despite his complaint of dyspnea, his real reason for being here is probably because of a paraneoplastic syndrome he's suffering from: hypercalcemia. We began an intensive diuretic treatment plus hydration, and also gave a couple of medications for his dyspnea. Two days later, he looked a bit happier, either because his dyspnea got slightly better, or because his handsome son came for a visit.
My senior told me it would be better if we took him out of the inpatient area and instead admit him to our 1st degree ICU. I said yes, happily, because taking him out of inpatient area would mean that he was no longer going to be my responsibility during my nightshift. My happiness got subsided by the guilty conscience after a little while.
It was 2 a.m. in the morning and my senior called me on the phone, asking me to send him the history of the patient. I ask him why, he said he was going to tell me later, which I later learned. The patient had a cardiac arrest in the ICU, which my senior had to take him to the 3rd degree ICU. I felt relieved, as I thought I was not talented enough to save him from a cardiac arrest and transfer him to a better health care unit.
I thought I was never going to be the type of a healthcare worker that would approach her patients as a pure "job". I thought I was too emotional for that. Apparently, "being too emotional" is not a stable attribute.
I hope I will become the type of a healthcare worker that will trust herself and be accomplished while taking care of patients in need.
As you get into the job more deeply, you start feeling respect for those who've been in this world longer than you did. I feel happy while thinking about the future version of me practising this work.
I am a 25 year-old Turkish graduate from medical school.
My special interests follow as: reading medical articles, writing (currently indulged in 3 other personal blogs, one being a foodie-blog, the other ones serving as open diaries), playing violin and spending time with my little budgie.