Sunday, April 13, 2008

Being human and a touching tale

Sometimes we feel that the burdens we carry are too heavy. Responsibilities define who we are and our response to life depends on how much of motivation and encouragement we times through faith, people, event or little things in life. if we face life with an inner joy and a spring of hope, even the heaviest yoke can be lifted up with a smile. yeah, as incongruous and impossible as it may sound, God is strongest when we are at our weakest. this is a fact that I have pondered upon for a very long time and only recently, I have truly and sincerely applied it to my life.

we are surrounded with bad news daily. life can really sucks. the way we view circumstances will truly determine whether we have a positive mindset and be victorious or remain deeply stuck in a rut. if we do not lift a tyre stuck in the mud and keep on jamming on the accelerator, we will end up deeper into the muddy ground. the same goes for the discouragement in our life. view each day as a new beginning. do not be stubborn about change. that's why i name my blog as dreams and changes. if we lost our dreams and remain resistance to changes, we will be retrogressive. as for now, despite hearing streams of not-so-happy news, I choose to view the cup as half-full.

this morning, i spoke to a very nice lady who has been taking care of her husband,Mr U for the past one year. we know each other very well as his husband has been a familiar face. exactly 1 year ago, he was admitted with abdominal pain and vomiting. Our investigation revealed a disease I have never heard before and our team was quite baffled and challenged with this rare but benign illness. yet our gut feelings told us that there must be something sinister going on with him as despite our best efforts as optimizing his nutrition, he kept on losing weight.

My boss spoke to a senior consultant radiologist to request for a CT scan of this man's abdomen. If you go to private hospital often, you would be getting CT scans even if you are suspected of having something simple like appendicitis because all you need is some cash to pay for it. However, due to the long waiting list in govt hospitals, the radiologist refused my boss' request as the senior radiologist felt that Mr U is having some strange illness. We operated on this patient to allow him a way to eat through a jejunostomy tube and it was just simple, short operation. We continued to follow up on this man diligently as he faithfully comes for each follow-up in the past 1 yr.

Last month, Mr U was admitted with severe jaundice. We were alarmed and suitably felt that this man truly needs thorough scanning in Ipoh. The CT films done early this week confirmed our fears that this man is indeed having cancer of the pancreas which is inoperable. Mr U further weakened and the past few days, our team of doctors spent more and more time with him and his wife, just talking and listening to them. Initially, we broke the bad news and then we counselled the family members. This morning, he was almost at deathbed and his wife politely thanked me with tears streaming down her face as I explained to her gently and softly that he might be going soon.

why do i want to share this story? I am sure that there are plenty of tales from the hospital, good and bad. we could have regretted the fact that we didn't push harder for a CT scan last year. We could have inspected every organs during laporotomy when we did a simple operation on him last yr. We could have investigated again when he keeps on losing weight despite our best efforts. Those are all hypothetical questions as we all know that ultimately, pancreatic cancer carries a bad prognosis no matter what we could do for the patient and we could not turn back time. How can we tell what would have happened?

I work in a small hospital with limited facilities but that should not deter us from the basic tenets of healthcare. death is indeed the debt every man pays. the lessons we learn from this man's story only reminded us that we must strive to give our best to each soul we encounter in own daily life. the sanctity of human lives must be respected. We must never stop honest and respectful communication as human touch can never be replaced with technology.

Although this is a sad story, I could see the silver lining and smile again. This patient was surrounded by his loved ones as he approached the final hours of his life. His dignity was maintained and we ensure that there was open communication and respect for him. That is the best that we could do for now. Again, I am thankful that this vocation that God gave me truly touches life at its very core...


Jon said...

nice - just what i needed to hear today :-)

LainLainOrang said...

I really enjoy your writing...simple but touching...i'll be back to read all your posting..

Melalyn Ng said...

How inspiring! :D Keep writing Lynette! I didn't know you have a blog until today hehe I'll be a regular here

CK Tan said...

got here from POTS. u all do good deeds.

the cili padi doctor @ Lynette said...

never knew how many people actually blog and also write comments as they read blogs but you guys are really nice and encouraging.

keep up the good job! i do hope to share more stories from the diamond cove of Malaysia and the occassional forays out to 'civilization'