Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A very bad day, a very bad death.

Yesterday was a very bad day. A patient had a terrible death. I was angry. I wrote about it. But I just could not post it. It was too personal. I just couldn't share it.

This man who died, I did not know him well at all. He was not much older than me. He had a lovely family. The cruelty of his disease and his untimely death got to me. I still despair.

The man that died bled out from his disease. If you do not know what that means, you are lucky. It is one of the very worst ways to die. And we will just leave it at that.

I thought I would be really sad. But what I mostly am is angry. The clinic that he attended for his disease should have tried to prevent a death like this. Everyone is too focused on a cure that will never be. But death was certain and they blew it.

I am not sure his brother will ever get over the trauma of his death. The patient was outside, where he loved to be, when he started bleeding. We had no meds because the clinic would not refer him to hospice soon enough, even though I talked to them and told them I thought he may die soon. Instead, they called me urgently just two hours before his death to get there to help. His brother lifted him into the house. It was a messy scene. Very intense.

"He has more time" the clinic had said to me just one day earlier.

He did not. Time ran out.

Ultimately, by the grace of God, we were able to get him comfortable, to allow his sister and brother to see him peaceful for a time before he took his last breath. The journey there was the hard part. And it didn't have to be.

There is no good ending here. But it is a reminder that life is short and fragile at times. That the experts are many times wrong. That some things do not end well.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~~~~Dylan Thomas

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