Recurring Nightmare 3
Please read Foreword first.
Recurring Nightmare – Neurosurgery
It’s close to knock-off time. You get a page from A&E.
Forty-plus man, sudden loss of consciousness at work, GCS 3 on arrival, they think it’s a stroke. You need to accompany the patient to the scan room.
It’s a massive bleed. Intraventricular. Mid-line shift.
You bring the films and patient back down to the A&E. You call your Reg. He tells you to start a drip to bring the brain pressure down, then discuss the prognosis with the family. If they want the op, he’s ours. If they don’t want the op, he’s neuro-med’s.
His wife has just arrived. You step out of the resus area to talk to her.
Late-thirties, slightly overweight, hair in a mess. She’s leaning forward slightly as you talk to her, eyes wide open, mouth slight agape.
You tell her her husband will most likely die. You tell her even if we drill a hole in his head to clear the blood clot compressing his brain he may still die, or end up a vegetable.
You don’t ask her about risk factors he might have had, you don’t quote her statistics and figures, because you know they don’t mean anything to her now.
She is silent for five seconds, and then she starts crying. A loud wail. The other people in the waiting area turn to stare, but she doesn’t see them.
She buries her face in her hands, but strangely you feel you can sense what she is thinking.
Why him? Why me?
What’s going to happen to our family? What am I going to tell the kids when they get home from school?
How are we going to pay the housing loan now? How are we going to pay for food? How am I going to put the children through school?
Her wails turn into sobs as she gathers her thoughts. She wipes her face with a sleeve and thanks you.
She thanks you.
You wonder why.
She does not ask to see her husband, but instead takes her handphone out to call someone, probably her sister.
You take the opportunity to return to the resus area.