January 20th, 2007


The ugly sides of fate

It's amazing how subjective and illogical the feelings of worry and unhappiness are.

I am worrying about my future, where I will go, what I will do, how I will live, how I will feel, even though I have no real reason - just the fact that for some time next year I probably will be feeling out of place and very lonely in some new city...

And I have a patient. She is 28, just five years older than I am. She has three kids, the youngest she had when she was 15. The two younger ones are both under 7. She is now divorced. She has never gone to school beyond 9th grade. She has been shot in the abdomen, and shot so badly that she lost her intestine completely. After having problems with her parenteral nutrition (there are people who live without food other than a murky liquid flowing into their veins 12+ hours a day for decaes), six months later she got a transplant. There are few things worse than small bowel transplant - the hardest to keep from rejectecting, taking the longest to heal, all the medications she is on to prevent rejection wreaking havoc with her blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure. There is constant diarrhea and frequent infections. And she keeps coming back to the hospital, which is 6 hours by flight from where she lives. She stays here for weeks at a time, her mother by her side. State is paying for their healthcare - but still, they lost all the money they never had - and then some. And now, while she is still very weak in the hospital, she received the letter that her children will be taken away from her because she cannot care for them. Her blood pressure shot up, blood vessel ruptured, she was wheeled into emergency surgery... and she still finds strength to smile.

Her life is so much worse than mine, on so many levels. After working with such train wrecks, one would think I would not feel my worries are all that serious - but I can't help feeling they are.