Intensive Care: Love, Romance and Caring

Post Christmas, Pre-New Year – well, I feel like I am in a bit of a time warp – unsure whether I should be reminiscing on the year just gone or looking forward hopefully to the year ahead. There is no doubt that I have a lot to be thankful for. I mean last year (well, technically still this year) I managed to survive medical school finals and my first 5 months as a junior doctor. Along the way though I have had my heart broken a little bit – but perhaps the year ahead will offer something more positive in that regard. It may seem like an odd thing to bring up – romance, love and caring, in a blog that is supposed to be about my trials and tribulations through medicine as a doctor – but you know what – it is incredibly apt and suited to this time of year. I say this for a number of reasons; Firstly, I feel very lucky that I have a loving family around me because not everyone does. In fact there is a Christmas tree in the foyer of the hospital where people can write and leave tags sending loving wishes to those loved ones that they have lost. I make sure that I read a new one every day when I walk in and walk out of hospital. It reminds me that people will be grieving this time of year for family members and friends lost to illness and disease. It is not always, in that sense, a time for celebration but rather sober reflection and quiet thanks to the people that we have been fortunate enough to have in our lives. The second reason I bring up romance, love and caring is that I have had to fill out four death certificates in the Christmas week just gone – two of which died Christmas Day. It breaks my heart to see those families desperately hanging onto the life of the loved one in intensive care whose very organs – heart, kidneys and brain have all but failed – and only kepy alive by the very machines that surround their struggling body. You can see the hope in their eyes and the fear of losing someone whom they clearly love so dearly. These people will have once been young, fallen in love and enjoyed the excitement of love and having a family. That for them is over and as sure as death is a part of life, they will – and did die. There is very little I can do to ease the grieving of the four families that week gone – in fact there is nothing I can do. It is a pain I have yet to personally experience and to be honest I fear for it when the time does come. The third reason I bring up romance, love and caring is that I had someone whom I cared very much about this week tell me they wanted to not pursue things any further with me. As someone whom I was excited to see a future with, and have it ripped away, I guess makes me ache a little more for it. Will it come in 2014? Well I can only hope and see what the next 12 months bring. In the meantime I will try as best I can to support those who come to intensive care to see their loved ones in such grave states and to remember that we all deserve compassion and love – not just at Christmas but all year round.

Merry Christmas to you all and I wish you a 2014 full of good health, happiness and love.

Dr Nick

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