Friday, December 23, 2011

Meanwhile, In the Real World

Ozzie Ausband:

I looked at this overweight ill man and wondered how he became this way. After all, I knew how I turned out the way I did. I knew that I was a mess inside. I would go home from work, taking all the pain and suffering with me. I would put Keith Jarretts- ‘Invocations’ on the CD player– open a bottle of Stoli–and drown in a river of my own making. Who could I talk to of my household gods? Rage, alcohol, loneliness and despair. I shook my head sadly. I had a messed up childhood- in some ways -and a huge inferiority complex from it. I guess that I had finally stopped blaming my parents and just tortured myself with my fears. It wasn’t their fault anyway. They did the best they could. Damn! A person could go nuts with such thoughts.

I was out in the hallway, striding toward the supply room when I heard a call, ” I need some help in here!” The voice had that urgency and panic familiar to me. I knew that something was wrong. I rushed back into the patients room and saw my admission patient turning the wrong color. He was dusky and slipping fast. We all went into our mode. One person checked vitals, one called for more help and the machinery of life-saving quickly fell in order. I performed CPR on the man after he coded. The ‘Code Blue’ team responded with the crash cart and we -collectively- brought the man back from the darkness.

It probably wouldn’t be for long though. He was a physical wreck from years of indulgent living, sumptuous meals and neglecting his health. I pictured his home on a Friday night. The smell of good cigars, rich food, business banter and wine-inspired laughter. The families gold-laced, framed photographs in the hallways, spoke of assured destiny and old money. We brought him back to life again…

After a few weeks, he was stabilized and ready to be discharged. He would need careful monitoring and home health visits. He sent for me and I stopped in his room to see him. He was with his family at this point. He looked different…not so haughty or entitled. He spoke humbly, thanking me for my efforts and for performing CPR on him. His family said much the same to me. My fingers fluttered and I fidgeted nervously. I didn’t like this part of the job. For me, it was easier to coldy zip them into a bag.

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