A primary care physician's thoughts on medicine and life.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Janice had come to terms with her disease. The swelling in her legs and the shortness of breath were overwhelming. Her gasping for air with almost every movement made the sedentary life her only option. Her family members had long since moved away or died.
She was alone.
The current bout of heart failure had been severe enough to land her in the hospital again. The paramedics shook their heads in disgust as they hauled her out of her cluttered, cockroach-infested apartment. The ride to the emergency room was her first trip outside of the confines of her four small walls since the last hospitalization.
Janice wasn’t depressed; she was just tired. Her heart could no longer support the mass of edematous flesh that hung wantonly from her body. The cardiologist confirmed what she had long expected. The damage to the cardiac muscle was too great. The floppy organ was pumping at less than 10% the normal strength. The blood confirmed another heart attack.
It was with grave faces that the team of doctors gathered to give Janice her options. Her prognosis was poor. She would likely die in weeks, maybe months. They waited solemnly for what they expected would be a melancholy reaction.