Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving up

I came into the room fully dressed in my protective gear. Eye protection, sterile gloves, the works. It was for my protection as well as the patient.

The patient was already opened up. My colleague had started before me. I looked at my patient. Seemed so vulnerable. Hard to believe that things deteriorated to this point.

But I could not indulge my emotions right now. I had a job to do. I had to focus because my patient depended upon my skills and knowledge. Everything up to now would be put to the test.

I put my hands into the patient's cavity and began to work. I was almost surprised at how warm it was inside--I should be used to that by now. The gentle hum of the instruments nearby provided my music. It was in a way soothing to listen to that hum. It also helped me keep my attention focused and my hands steady. Steady hands was what was needed the most. A careless move would be disastrous.

My colleague and I worked in tandem. Few words were needed. It was as if we could read each other's thoughts. Maybe for a brief period of time, we could read each other's thoughts.

We worked. Some things we did by sight. Others by feel. Yet other things depending upon the monitor readings.

All seemed to be going well. The patient's output on the monitor seemed low. But I knew ways to compensate. So I did. I was thrilled to see an output gain. I felt like a god. All that was surging to the will of my hands made me feel powerful.

But something was wrong. Something just did not seem right. I could not say what. Was it instinct that was telling me something was wrong? Something did not seem right to my senses.

The patient soon began to fail before my eyes. My colleague and I worked furiously to correct the problems that occurred. No sooner did we try to fix one problem, a new one reared its ugly head. But that is what happens in death. It is often a cascade of events like the fall of a child's dominos.

We tried and we tried to revive. Our attempts were futile. We looked at each other and knew it was time to give up. I saw the sweat beading on the face of my colleague. I could feel my own sweat beading on my face as well as sweat dripping down to the small of my back. The room seemed so hot all of sudden.

Failure. It is not easy to face failure. It is not easy to give up.

Nothing left to do now for the patient. The patient would now be in the care of those whose specialized training is to determine a cause and then fill out a report on the findings. I wondered what that particular specialist would find? Would it be something I did? Or would there be some underlying cause that was the patient's demise?

I looked at the monitor one last time. I read the final readings: Fatal Chopper Error. The spectrophotometer had experienced its last and final readings. Starting my day I did not realize that today would be the spectrophotometer's last day.


Blogger William the Coroner said...

Oh, please. A freakin' SPEC!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:59:00 AM  

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