viernes, 20 de abril de 2007

Hospital Smell-- a bad day

The following entry is unrelated to writing. It deals with the Hospital I study at and is pretty depressing. You might want to stop reading here.

Today was "worst-news" day at the Hospital. By some incredible quirk of statistics, today there were four patients with serious conditions to be explained. I'm a student, so my job is mainly to shut up and listen and never never bother or be underfoot. I'm so glad about that.

I don't know why, but this has hit me particularly hard. I've seen sad things in the four years I've been going to the Hospital. Three out of four of today's sad cases were very old people dying of cancer for whom aggressive treatment wasn't an option. I marvel at the way their relatives took the news. Dignified comes to mind. On films you see grief acted out to the max, milked for every ounce of melodrama it can hold and thrown into the audience face in tears, screams and anger. Real life is a lot more contained. Sober. Real life is real.

I'm trying to figure out why this has hit me so hard. Maybe I'm just starting to realize that this time next year it will be me giving those news, me offering patients and relatives options, me having to tell people when there are no options. This is an aspect of the job that is rarely talked about, even within the medical profession. When it is addressed, it usually is in a conference, classroom... formal settings, places where you can talk about feelings with the strict aseptic terminology of medical psychology. Outside the classroom and in the privacy of their offices, doctors will sometimes mutter "a pity", nod encouragingly at an intern analyzing the way to give bad news, uphold each other with a web of pregnant looks and light conversation.

Today I feel like shit, but in a few hours my mood will lift. Unlike the patients I saw this morning, I can go home and forget.

Sorry about the rant and I hope I haven't disturbed you.

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