My legs feel like I expect rigor mortis would feel, if those who got it were still sentient and could describe it. Going up and down stairs is quite painful. But I have so far forgone the Advil, preferring to be reminded of my momentous achievement each time I twitch a lactic acid etched muscle fibre. I have walked all day with the peculiar gait of one who has a pole up their you-know-what, but it really does make it less painful to limp about one’s daily business. Why not wear it like a badge of honour? I earned it.
On another note…
In the past week, three patients of whom I had become very fond have died. I told you yesterday about Mr. S. Well, I saw the names of two others who were just really nice people in the obits. I check the Family Notices (what a dreadful, sanitized term) every day, just to see what’s happened. One of these deaths was quite expected; we got him admitted to palliative care a few days before he died. He lived to see his granddaughter born, a couple of weeks early. The other I hadn’t heard from in a while. He and his partner lived out of town.
It’s interesting, I don’t feel badly for the patient himself. His suffering is over. It’s the family that I cry for. They all of a sudden (for them, if not for us… I think we see it coming long before the family does) no longer need to put all else on hold to take care of this person. Tasks that occupied their every waking moment, and many sleeping ones, too, I’d bet, are now unnecessary. It’s learning to live a new way, without someone who was, literally, just there, someone who was such an integral part of their lives that to have that part missing so suddenly is like an amputation. That’s what makes me sad about what we do. We try pretty hard to give these people their lives, to keep their families whole, but eventually, many die (well, I guess everyone does, someday, of some cause) , and even though we may have made it easier at the end, or given them months or years longer than without treatment, their families and friends are left without them. I think that most would say that the weeks and months and years of “bonus time” as it’s often called by patients, is worth the physical and emotional investment. I hope at least we can give hope, relief, information always, cure sometimes.
Usually I can come up with a reasonable closing sentiment for these diatribes, but tonight I am burnt and sore, and having trouble coming up with something. So I am taking my rigor mortis-ed legs to bed with a quick detour to kiss my sleeping kids. You never know when you might get hit by a bus (literal or figurative) and I don’t want to put that stuff off (how’s that for sentiment?).