Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Didn't Give Up On You

Powerful image,right?  What does one experience between life and death?  Do they know they are dieing?  Are they looking down watching us work furiously to save them?  Can they hear what we are saying?  When life support is literally the only thing that is keeping them alive, do they know?  The question that haunts me most is does my patient think that I gave up on them? 

I've seen my fair share of death in the seven years that I have been an RT.  I've never been able to figure out what happens during that fragile time between life and death.  Unfortunately I won't ever know until it is my time to go.  I've done compressions, bagged, assisted in intubations to save a life.  I do everything that I am trained to do, but it's not enough.  My heart goes out to the patients who are laying helpless on that hospital bed.  There's nothing worse than a physician stopping a code.  It's cold, frustrating and all around shitty.  It feels strikingly similar to failing, and it sucks.  The dead have a crazy way of haunting me.  I think about what that patient experiences when we're coding them. 

What happens after?  Do they stay with us while we're cleaning them up?  Are they asking "why did you give up on me?"  Or are they saying, "it's okay, I'm fine now."?  These are questions that I'll never have answers to.  These are questions that will haunt me for the rest of my life.