Friday, October 23, 2015
A Moment for Reflection
Here it is Friday evening...I just got home from another week at the hospital. Today is one that I probably won't forget for a long time. While walking home from the bus stop, all I could think about was how precious life really is and how in an instant everything could change and your world as you know it can fall completely apart.
Today, I lost my first patient. I spoke to and examined the patient this morning, spoke with the doctors about what their plan was for continued care and then went on with the rest of my day. The family was waiting at the hospital for the patient to be discharged this afternoon and all of a sudden everything changed. The patient went into cardiac arrest. There was a team of doctors, nurses, and other support staff that did everything possible to resuscitate the patient but were unsuccessful. I was in the middle of it all, trying to be as helpful as possible and not in the way of the efforts. At one point I heard "medical student, you're next to take over chest compressions." I realized that was addressed to me because I was the only medical student there at the time. OMG flashed in my mind, but didn't escape my lips and I prepared to take over. Another doctor ended up next in the CPR rotation and I continued attempting to find an access line for medications and fluids to be administered, preparing & handing over supplies as needed, and doing whatever they asked of me.
During the entire code, I was much more calm than I anticipated I would be in this type of situation (similar kind of thought I had back in Anatomy lab for the first time). One can be much more useful when you're calm and focused vs when you're freaking out. As I was walking home, with a massive headache--probably due to the adrenaline crash that was happening, I couldn't help but reflect on how precious life really is...What's important in the grand scheme of life...Petty disagreements...rifts between family/friends...holding grudges...being a mean person...none of it makes a difference when our time is up. The difference comes when you are the one left to pick up the pieces and realize there will be no more opportunities to say "I love you"..."I miss you"..."I forgive you"...or "I'm sorry."
Today, I was reminded to be grateful for every moment. Don't take anything for granted. Appreciate every opportunity you have with those you love because tomorrow is never promised.