I was on-call last weekend, and it was busy. The ICU was full. Our patients list was quite long. I only got about 8 hours of sleep from Friday to Sunday, that by the end of my 58 hours shift, I was really exhausted. I felt deflated and defeated.
Days like those, I even wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
After having Monday off, I came to the office the next morning and found this on my table:
flowers and a memorial service program
The flowers came from a patient, or should I say from his relatives. My patient passed away. I should be the one sending flowers. But in this occasion, it was the dead and the grieving who gave the flowers.
I guess the family was just grateful and appreciative of the care I gave their loved one. Even if the end result was death.
Day like this, reaffirms why I am doing this.
I have taken care of this patient for almost 10 years. And over the years I saw his constant struggle to breathe, and his progressive decline. By the past year or so I have been seeing him so often in the clinic or in the hospital, that I have come to know him very well. Yet, despite our efforts he continued to get worse.
At the end I knew I have nothing left to offer him, and so we have agreed to place him under hospice care.
He had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD.
Damn cigarettes! If there’s any young people here reading this article and are smoking and feels that you’re indestructible, I am pleading to you, please stop smoking. I am a constant witness of the destructive effects of cigarettes and the utter suffering they cause. Whatever pleasure smoking gives, it is not worth it.
Though I would admit, some of the nicest people I came to know were smokers. And that includes my patient. They are just slaves of a bad habit that may not be their own doing.
In the funeral program of my patient that they also sent to me, was a poem by Ann Davidson, printed on it. A poem so apt for my patient. It was entitled “I’m Free.”
Free from the pain. Free from suffering. Free from the disease that tormented him. He was indeed free.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I’ve found that peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow,
My life’s been full, I’ve savored much
Good friends, good times, my loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me.
God wanted me now; He set me free!