Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life is serious

Our son, the extremely-junior doctor, has now taken over from the slightly-less-junior doctor he’s been shadowing for the last couple of weeks.

On the third day of this actual doctoring, our son admitted to the hospital an elderly lady who deteriorated rapidly and then died the next day. Our son, aged 23, was the only doctor on duty in the ward during the main part of this second day, and when it was clear that there was nothing to be done to save her, her husband was summoned and our son had to break the news to him. He sat with the couple while she died; checked that she was indeed dead; and then wrote out the death certificate. Then, after a senior doctor had come to explain the situation further to the husband, and then gone, our son stayed a bit longer to answer the husband's questions, since he seemed to need this; and then accompanied him to the hospital door.

Serious stuff and very emotional. Our son is a kind chap and felt deeply for the lady and her husband, neither of whom had realised how ill she was. I think he also worried that the old gentleman might reasonably have thought a 23-year-old not quite what he had in mind for such an occasion.

I wanted to give my boy a cuddle and tuck him into bed, but he’s a long way away.

He’s working 70 hours a week at the moment.

I go back to work tomorrow but it seems a bit pathetic to complain about this, so I won’t.

Here's Cassie cat exploring her territory.

And here she is coming back again. It's probably easier to be a cat than a person.


20 comments:

kirsty said...

I understand what you mean about wanting to give him a cuddle! Our boys will always seem too little to us to have to deal with stuff like that.
You have done a great job Mummying, Isabelle! Even through your blog I can see what wonderful people you have parented.

Scottish Nanna said...

What a Very sad thing for your son to do.It sounds like he is A very careing person.it sounds like a lot of hours he has to work you must be very proud of them both.
Hugs Mary.

Tanya Brown said...

This rite of passage had to happen at some point, but I'm sorry that it had to come so quickly. I'm also sorry to hear about the long hours. I'd hoped that health systems in countries outside the U.S. were more sensible in that regard.

Ali Honey said...

Not an easy part of his job.....I hope he finds that it has many rewards as well. Your garden loOks delightful!

Anne said...

How sad your son had to go through that. Sad as well that you couldn't give him that cuddle.

Your garden looks amazing, could do with you over here!

Mary's Cottage Quilts said...

My grandma once said "you never stop being a parent"
What a wonderful son you have!

Linds said...

Tough for your son, Isabelle. It sounds as if he did even more than expected of him. No wonder you want to give him a cuddle!

I am sorry you have to go back to work today - it seems way too soon. We definitely should have been cats.

Tracey Petersen said...

It sounds like he handled himself with great sensitivity. You must be proud of him.

meggie said...

I hope your wonderful, caring son never loses that kindness. It can mean so much, when a loved one dies in hospital.

Your garden looks so lush & gorgeous! Your fuschia are just rich & beautiful! I am quite bereft, since Gom ripped ours out.

Frankofile said...

Abrupt departures are tough. Sad picture of the husband leaving. Your son was so kind to give him some time.

Loth said...

To take that amount of care when you are working a 70 hour week is a pretty good indication that he is in the right job. He's going to be a splendid doctor.

Jean said...

'Kind' is not how many doctors come across, and I hope your son is able to survive the stresses and continue to be kind and caring, as well as technically competent. If he is, I think he will find that patients and their loved ones will appreciate him hugely. I do, though, understand his qualms that someone much older may not be expecting to deal only with such a young and junior doctor at such a time. This is not right, of course. It is not right for them or for him. My warmest wishes to him, and to you in supporting him.

fifi said...

I should think, in that awful situation , that your dear, kind, and obviously concerned son,
would be JUST the person I would wish to deal with, rather than the experienced older doctor who has seen it all before and has one eye on his watch because he has a golf game, or another appointment.

At least he is able to endure the long hours because he is young and fit.

I hope this experience never dims his feelings for such things, I hope he is ok.

You have done well to produce this person, this doctor.


work: already?

Avus said...

I agree with Loth (above).If he can manage that amount of professionalism and EMPATHY as a new doctor on 70 hours a week, then he is going to make one great practitioner.

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Isabelle. See, it's times like this that make you want to bring those little boys back home and never let them go. The subject of these long hours came up over our weekend orientation -- in the states, the Drs. have been limited to 80 hour weeks. Our Dr. friend wasn't too sympathetic to complaints from the students' families -- they feel the long hours are necessary for continuity of patient care. Your son sounds like a wonderful, caring young man. I hope our boys can keep their compassion and enthusiasm as they grow older and experience a lot of the sadness that being in medicine brings.
Sorry that work started again today -- I guess that answered my question! XOXO

jkhenson said...

How heartbreaking! That is a hard thing to get off your mind, I imagine. Luckily, he has communication with you! I'm sure that helps.
On a totally different note: on our postcard quest, we received one from a friend of the family. He's military, I think, in EDINBURGH! :) It was such a coincidence! I read Scotland and then saw it was from a place I know only through you! :) Small world. Take care!

Molly said...

And where did MY comment go?? It echoed all the others here.....

Fairlie said...

Oh, it is SO much easier to be a cat than a person!

Just catching up on all your posts - hope you manage to find some cat-sitters.

Stomper Girl said...

He sounds like an extraordinary young man, to have been so kind and thoughtful in a situation that would have most of us fleeing the room in search of someone more senior.

Margaret Cloud said...

He probably did need hugged, it has to be awful to see someone pass away, he sounds like a kind soul, God Bless him.