May 13, 2013


     Having made it out of the hospital by a reasonable time, it was no longer dark and daylight was breaking.  A trick I learned I early on was to always park in the same spot.  Multiple hospitals, multiple shifts, brain overload, sleep deprivation...losing your car is not hard to do.  In walking to my car I noticed a man pulling a wheelchair from the back of the car for the woman waiting in the passenger seat.  Something about them seemed familiar. 

     As I passed him, I caught a glance of his eyes.  Five steps closer to my car and my brain made the connection.  She was a patient of mine on a previous rotation months ago.  I kept walking and with each step my brain recalled a piece of their story from my memory.  The eyes were the trigger.  I couldn't recall their names, but I could not forget their eyes, nor their story.  I closed my eyes and I could see the office room where that visit took place.  His eyes were moist with concern.  Her eyes were yellow with the failing of her liver.  It was not a visit with good news and so I was a bit surprised she was still alive.

     By the time I recalled all this, I was at my car and they were a hundred yards behind me, one wheeling the other towards the hospital.  I slowly pulled out my keys and felt regretful.  I wished I had stopped.  I wished I had remembered quicker.  I wanted to ask them how they were holding up.  Did she get on a transplant list for a new liver?  Or, was she terminal?  But by that point, I was simply too tired and they were already entering the hospital.  Everyone has their limits.

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