Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Song for the Day

I know there's California, Oklahoma

It is a danger of being busy, of being swamped with studying, the danger of inflating your own importance.  

And all of the places I ain't ever been to but

How will I ever learn the difference between the five different types of hepatitis, know what immunoglobulins indicate latent infection or chronic disease, and what the heck is hepatic encephalopathy anyway?  Is that the one that causes asterixis?

Down in the valley
With whiskey rivers

And then, every Wednesday, I walk into the hospital and take a deep breath of the Purell-scented air on the renal unit where I spend my days now.

These are the places you will find me hidin'

And I remember.  I remember that I get to walk away at 7 PM.  That I can comment on the weather with some knowledge of what that air feels like outside, because I was in it that morning and will be in it again that night, cold or rainy as it is.  I remember that yes, I have a lot of studying, and it feels overwhelming, but - I can go to the bathroom when I want to, and I don't need anyone to help me.  I can eat what I want to, and my kidneys work, and my blood is not slowing to sludge in my veins because it's so loaded with toxins that I should be able to pee out but can't.  I remember that I can walk more than three feet without getting out of breath, and I remember that when I dream about being on a beach, or being home with my Mom and Dad, or even just being asleep in my own bed...those things are possible for me.  Some are more likely to happen than others, but they're still possible.

These are the places I will always go

People in end stage renal disease can dream of leaving the hospital, but most of them never will.  The places they go in their dozes and daydreams, after I dim the lights and pull up their blankets, are places they will probably never see again.  The inside of their bedroom, the slope of their front steps, the sky outside their kitchen window.

These are the places I will always go

A document entitled "Discharge Plan."  It's blank inside.

I am on my way

I pull up the order list, updated this morning after the patient met with his physician team.

I am on my way

Comfort measures only.  Morphine, PRN.

I am on my way back to where I started

I catch my breath again and say a prayer that the sky is beautiful there.  He's on his way.

Lyrics from: Down in the Valley, by The Head and the Heart.

30 Days Hath November
Day 01: A place I'd like to travel.
Day 02: A favourite movie.
Day 03: Something I never leave the house without.
Day 04: A friend I adore.
Day 05: My hometown.
Day 06: A book I'm reading.
Day 07: A song for the day.

No comments: