“How are you Christine?”
“You got about an hour?”
“(insert annoying laugh here) no, I don’t”
“Then you don’t care how I really am and you are asking how I am based on pleasantries. I know you’re a resident and you’re still learning. That’s okay. I too am learning, but in the future, don’t ever ask family members in a trauma ICU how they are if you aren’t really interested in hearing how they are!”
Yeah, I fussed at a Trauma ICU resident doctor. It wasn’t the first time I fussed at him.
He offered me papers to sign. They wanted to give my dad a PICC line. I made him go through the risks thoroughly and asked more questions than he wanted to answer. When he finished explaining the risks, I noticed he checked a box that was not for him to check.
I questioned him on this.
“Why did you check this box for me? Isn’t this my choice?”
“Well… uh.. yeah, but most people just check it and don’t really care.”
“First off, I’m not most people and you have no right to check that box. That box is for me to check and that is my decision, not yours!”
I was livid about that little check mark. I let him know this. I hope in his future career he becomes a little more aware of what is his right and what is not. I get it though, he’s still learning. I too am learning.
I let him keep that box checked, but not until I expressed all of my concerns on the matter. It was about principle.
This was the same resident who told me that I need to be aware of what’s to come. He told me he wanted to prepare me for the inevitable.
“Your father will most likely have a trach for the rest of his life. He will have a feeding tube for the rest of his life. He will need to move to a skilled nursing facility and require 24-hour care for the rest of his life. His injuries are that severe. You will never have your father back”
I resisted the urge to punch him.
I resisted the urge to drop kick him.
But in that moment, I hated him.
I hated what he said. I hated what he represented. I hated him for his words. I hated all that he had given me up to this point.
He read the reports. He saw the injuries. He knew the odds. He was rehearsed in the literature.
But what he lacked was faith.
He was a typical medical resident in training with a head full of stats.
For the record, I hate stats. Always have and always will.
Mainly because the outliers are ignored or dropped.
I have a thing for outliers. There is hope in the outliers; though I suppose to be fair, it depends on the situation and what it is we are looking for.
Regardless, I hate stats and I have issues with those who place faith in stats alone.
Stats don’t tell the whole story.
Science and stats go hand in hand in many ways.
My dad was placed in a medically induced coma for a few days.
I was there every day. At every visiting hour. I had no idea what to talk about. He couldn’t talk back. I was scared out of my mind.
You know what I did?
I repeated myself most of the time.
“Ed plowed the driveway.”
“Ed said you owe him a dinner at Sporty’s because you stood him up”
“Remember that time I wanted to drive the lawnmower and I ran over the softball breaking a window?”
“Remember that time you drove to Virginia when I was in a bind?”
When I ran out of words, I read. I also told him if he didn’t like the book, he would need to wake up and tell me so…but until then, I was gonna keep reading.
I read the The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. I skipped over any words of death.
I also told him that he better wake up or I was gonna play country music.
He hates country music.
“Jen’s here Dad”
“Tim’s here Dad”
“We love you. You got to hang on. You got to fight.”
It was in the Trauma ICU that I saw his tears.
The nurse said it was a body reflex.
I called bullshit.
I dried his tears.
Dad, I know it hurts. I know you’re scared. But it’s not over. It’s gonna suck, but you gotta fight. It’s not your time. Fight…. We got you and we will be here for you.
Fight Dad! Fight!
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