Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Losing Faith in Humanity...
So every once in a while I come across a patient that really affects me. There's been this couple who over the course of the last year have been coming in periodically to the E.D. Usually, one or the other of them is sick. Really sick. Respiratory type problems: pneumonia, the flu, difficulty breathing.
They're usually dirty. Unkempt is what I dictate. Or poor hygiene. But they always seem grateful for what we can do for them. A meal, a ride, free medications.
The woman came in again the other night. Shortness of breath. Smelling of motor oil. A friend was letting them stay in their garage since she's been sick. Because you see, they're homeless. Living under a bridge by the river. As, I was leaving that night, driving past the spot where they've told me they live, I felt bad. Felt like I should do something more.
You always maintain professional distance from your patients, but there's some patients that just affect you. I started to wonder what I could do. Not a hand out, but a job offer. Maybe something simple like yard work, maybe. The thought stays with me throughout the night.
The next day I hear the patient was discharged to home; she'd come in feeling short of breath from all the meth she used. Then I get angry. Seriously? You're homeless, you couldn't stay in the hospital the last time because you had to go back to your campground and "feed the dogs;" you already spend your money on cigarettes and now you're also using meth.
Seriously? Sometimes I wish I was back in surgery. A piece of skin under the drape. See the problem, remove/replace/fix the problem. Because sometimes the things I hear about my patients just makes me wonder, seriously?