I’ve seen some depressing stories since I’ve become a doctor. But there is one that I think about all the time. There is one that I have tried over and over again to write a story about, but I just can’t do it justice.
was during my Geriatrics Fellowship. I was working for about 3 months
with hospice. At the time I was working in the Hospice House (its like a
hospital for people that are actively dying.) We admitted a 40 year old
African American lady dying of breast cancer. She was diagnosed only
about a year previously and it took her by storm. She was married and
had 2 daughters. At one point before she was admitted, she was going to
radiation therapy every day. It had taken such a toll on her that she
was unable to walk on her own. So her husband - who I remember being
this huge strong muscular man would pick her up and carry her into the
hospital for therapy every day. Their daughters were only about 10 years
old. They absolutely could not handle the situation and wouldn’t see
their mom. Their way of dealing with this horrible event was to become
angry. I remember they would yell at their father about how useless they
thought he was.
the last days of her life her husband sat next to her day and night.
Here was this gigantic muscular man, but I remember the expression on
his face was so hopeless and helpless.
are definitely more depressing scenarios. But at the time I was a new
father (my son was only about 1 and a ½ at the time) and it just hit so
close to home.