Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sweet release

Beep beep. Everytime the pager beeped, an alarm system went off in my head suggesting impending events of emergency. You become conditioned to the beep in such a way that after sometime, you can almost tell when it is going to beep. It beeps, and you run. That’s how it works. Run to answer a call of distress.
I was on one of my routine rounds checking up on patients with my well-rehearsed “Hi’s” when my pager beeped. It was from the neurology ward. Which would mean an incapacitated person with lifeless limbs, immobile eyes or even comatose. As was the reflex, I ran. Reaching the neurology ward, I heard disconcerted beeping on the machines indicating a crisis of the vitals. I saw the patient gasping and the nurses scuffling around her. I was told her BP was dropping at an alarming rate. Her respiratory rate was high. Her pulse was feeble and her eyes were fixed. She needed resuscitation to be saved.
I called the resuscitation team. They came promptly. The team leader asked me for the file and while handing over the file I kept reconstructing the history of the patient. Beep beep went the machines in the back, faster now. I saw he wasn’t listening to me. Before I could finish he showed me what was written in block letters on the file. Like a red sign post that warns you. DNR. Do Not Resuscitate.

We watched her fade into a chilling silence. The beeping had stopped. Time of death 9.54am.

Her daughter presided over the silence outside. Soon she would be told (although she might have guessed by now) that her mother is “no more”. But she was probably ready for this moment when she consented on the DNR form. Or was she hoping for one of those movie miracles to happen? When did she come to terms with this inevitable loss? Or will she ever?

Time of letting go, cant really tell.

art title - hospital bed, acrylic on canvas
artiste - Mikey Welsh
url -

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