1-1banner
 
medpundit
 

 
Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.
 

 
Google
  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup




  • MASTER BLOGS





    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov




    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.




    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel



    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:

    medpundit-at-en.com



    Medpundit RSS


    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff


    Who is medpundit?


    Tech Central Station Columns



    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews

    Review


    Medical Blogs

    rangelMD

    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc

    richard[WINTERS]

    code:theWebSocket

    Psychscape

    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It

    medmusings

    SOAP Notes

    Obels

    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle

    CodeBlueBlog

    Medlogs

    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log

    EchoJournal

    Shrinkette

    Doctor Mental

    Blogborygmi

    JournalClub

    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House

    .PARALLEL UNIVERSES.

    SoundPractice

    Medgadget
    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day

    BioEdge

    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline

    Cronaca

    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station

    Blogcritics

    Overlawyered.com

    Quackwatch

    Junkscience

    The Skeptic's Dictionary



    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams


    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn


    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard


    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer


    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy


    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks


    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo


    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich




    MEDICAL LINKS

    familydoctor.org

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info

     



    button

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    All Seasons for Thy Own: Here in Northeast Ohio you can feel the seasons turning from death to life. The breezes are warmer, the days longer. Daffodils are blooming, trees are budding. Birds are building their nests. But death surrounds me.

    There is a definite uptick in mortality from January to March. By April, when spring finally shows its face, the weight of all those deaths begins to tell. Once again, my practice has seen its cluster reach a peak over the past several weeks. Most of them were expected in one way or another. They were old, they had cancer, they had bad lungs, bad hearts. Every day was a gift and we all knew it. Their loss is no less sad for that.

    But yesterday, after signing what I hoped would be the last death certificate for a while, another loss came through the door. It wasn't my patient. I didn't know him, or his family, at least not in any tangible sort of way. I only knew him remotely from stories and pictures that one of my patients has shared at each of his visits. My patient called, distraught, to tell me of his death. It was his grandson. He was seven months old.

    I remember the last photograph he had shown me, just a few weeks ago. A beautiful baby, happy, content. "See that smile," he had said, "When you see that smile, it's as if you are looking into the happy face of God." And so it is, a baby's smile.

    Maybe it was a cumulative effect of so much death in such a short time, maybe it was a post-call lack of sleep, or maybe it was just the thought of that baby's smile, but this stranger's death was the final blow to that inner fortress called professionalism that keeps constant sorrow at bay through the bad times. I wanted to weep.

    Of course, I couldn't. There were patients to see. Patients with bunions, and runny noses, and stressful jobs giving them headaches. Patients who pay me to attend to their sorrows. They should not be disappointed. So, pile those bricks of the inner fortress back up, and soldier on. The banality of life and of routine makes a pretty good mortar, but not a long lasting one. At the end of the day, when the phones are turned off, the last patient and the staff long gone, that fortress crumbles again.

    There's a picture above my desk, put there by my son - a photograph of himself when he was about seven months old. Smiling, happy, innocent (although now with a caption balloon and funny phrase added, courtesy of his older goofy self.) I remembered what it felt like to hold him, to see his smile, to hear his laugh. To feel his joy of being. It was like looking at the happy face of God. And what it must be to lose that, even to lose the older goofy version. And I finally wept.

    Dear readers, keep my patient and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Their burden is a heavy one.
     

    posted by Sydney on 4/04/2006 08:51:00 AM 4 comments

    4 Comments:

    Thanks for your heart and compassion. I have a young friend (35 years my junior)terminally ill with a very unusual melanoma. All I can offer her is the company of our lovable dog which she eagerly anticipates. I will drive him to Cleveland to visit you if necessary.

    By Anonymous Frank, at 11:30 AM  

    I include in my daily prayer list(well, daily on work days - I need it to get my game face on for the office!) a special request for "all those gone too soon." Sucks that "too soon" includes such young ones.

    By Blogger Bob, at 2:53 PM  

    We are all human, and although you are in an unusual position, seeing loss more frequently, even if it is at some distance, it would be odd and disturbing if some deaths were not hard to take.

    I've often thought that the worst place in the world would be in a pediatric oncology ward. As I understand it, the 'burn-out' rate is quite high.

    One does have to admire those that assist in the care of terminally-ill children. They do that work out of true compassion, knowing full well that the costs to them will be high indeed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 PM  

    :hug:

    By Anonymous Dara, at 8:16 PM  

    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page

    Ads

    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006