Thursday, February 23, 2012
As physicians we exert such glacial efforts to preserve life. We struggle with frailty against the whims and taciturn nature of father time. We suffer with our patients and stare down the barrel of our own inabilities with each death certificate we sign.
How many times have we watched the daughter mourn the loss of her father? We sit quietly as the husband sheds tears at the bed of his fallen wife. We face each new diagnosis: cancer and heart failure, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
We struggle with the residue of the day as we drive home to our families and envision each horrible diagnosis in the smiling faces of our precious spouses and children.
There are many sleepless nights. There are days where the bile engorges our bellies and leaves a bitter taste at the tip of our tongues. Yet we persist. We remain come hell or high water.
We can only gently alter the march of the aged; patients come and go, battles are lost.
Our distaste for destiny is salted with the tears of acceptance. The human body contracts disease. People are born to die.
Yet when I read the news today, I felt nothing but utter despair. A nine year old Alabama girl died after being ordered by her step mother to run around the house for hours till exhaustion. She was being punished for stealing a candy bar and lying about it.
As the article mentioned her low sodium and seizures, I found myself tumbling back to my medical reality. The exam rooms were filling with early appointments.
I will enter each room this morning with a heavy heart, and battle for the lives of the elderly and those unlucky enough to have picked the short straw.
Yet I can do nothing to ease the pain of that tragic nine year old. She died alone and steeped in shame.
I wish I could have fought for her.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 2:12 PM