Monday, December 19, 2011
Short story: Time of..
The first death on your watch wasn't your deal. You were just one of the many Interns who watched.The doctors are grim-faced but determined; you wonder why they even bother. Again and again the voltage is cranked up, but It can only do so much.
The doctor holding the paddles slowly turns away from the Patient and another quietly asks, “Time of death?”
You back away, feeling as if the paddles was really meant for you as your heart pounds. A devastated mother takes your arm “Time of death?” she whimpers, mistaking you for a doctor, Not a intern who never could remember which number was the systolic for blood pressure, not someone who didn’t even dare to do Labs.
"I;m so sorry for your loss.." You say, and run out to the hallway where tears spill.
the third death is just as sad, only this time you’ve been dragged along for the work. You’re the one ramming your hands into the sternum, trying to force the fluttering heartbeat into a constant beat. You’re the one leaping out of the way of the paddles, jumping back to start again. Just as it seems like it's too late,the paddles thunder a third time, you can feel the thump of the heart, you collapse against a wall, arms Pulsing with strain. You sigh with relief. You brought him back.
The Next death is the hardest. That little baby in neo-natal care and should never have been forced to live on machines. Each day is a struggle, and the medications are flowing in a deadly concentration for such a small body, yet the parents insist on continuing the treatment. They’re unwilling to bear any grief while their baby boy Is batteling each day,the Machines clicks the only Lullaby.
The mother shrieks, “ Do something!” After you reach the crib you motion the code team away and look towards the parents.
“The best thing for him is to take him off the machines,Hold him and love him in these last few moments.” you say.
The dad glares. "Never."
They don’t understand .“If he even survives a year, he will be severely physically and mentally disabled. For life,” I Declare.
The mother screams “ I don’t care. Just save him! Now!”
You nod at the code team, Moving to fit yourselves around the tiny crib and pulling off the oxygen , trying to fit your large palms against the tiney baby with his face scrunched up in a silent wail. The Meds aren’t having any effect because of the amount of medication already flowing through his body.
“Use the shocker!” the mother shrieks.
“We can’t!” you yell over the crys and moniters going off, trying to give compressions to a weak chest and an even weaker heart at the same time. . “Your baby is too small and his heart is too weak! If we do, we’ll kill him!”
The code leader shakes his head. “Time of death ….”
The mother collaspes in a waver of tears and sobs.
The next code is the hardest,You have the final say.
But he smiles at you through His flimsy grey hair. “I’m ready to leave. Are you ready to let me go?”
You sob. “No, Dad! I don’t want you to.”
He smile's the same smile you grew up with "It's okay..."
You breakdown in another wave of tears.
And he Outs his hand in yours, squeezing it once before closing her eyes. “You’re ready.”
You Kiss him one final time: “Time of death,2:23 PM Monday May 5th.”