“What’s the Score?” I said to the ER nurse as I ushered the patient’s convoy towards its ICU bed.
“Three,” the nurse said with a regretful face. He is in a good physical shape. Only a few abrasions are evident on his extremities but probably the damage is internal. I looked at him, tapped him on his shoulder and called him by his name, there was no response. I rubbed his chest to at least elicit a pain reflex, to know if he’s still striving, there was none. His pupils are fixed and dilated with no corneal reflex.
He is young, in his twenties and he is literally dead. His brain is no longer functioning and only the robotic autonomic nervous system keeps the rest of his vital organs going, but I know it will eventually fade too. He’s a victim of a road accident, involving him on his motorcycle and a ten wheeler truck earlier that morning. “What a misfortune. What a waste,” I said to myself.
Our life is borrowed and our days are numbered. When it’s done it’s done. In a profound thought, it is difficult to live each day of our life knowing that reality. We live in uncertainties. What’s coming for us in the next few seconds are vague. A few hours ago, that patient’s mother received a phone call from his son’s number, but it wasn’t him on the line; it was the hospital staff informing her that her son was brought to the ER. That day could have fine and normal for everyone in his family until the bad news came. Last night he was just with them. Now he’s intubated in the ICU, in a coma state. It’s startling how events could happen that swift.
I allowed the family members to see the patient in pairs one after the other. I know they are all stunned by looking at their puzzled eyes. At that moment none of them is crying, I know they are still trying to bring the pieces into an assembly and comprehend the real picture in front of them. They are probably still in denial because of the hurried events.
Then one Doctor came after another, all specialists in neurosurgery and medical neurology. I had the mother and one of the patient’s cousin conferred with the doctors. They were explained about the patient’s condition and how the CT Scan showed a great damage to his brain that even surgery is of no use. By then, they’re probably getting the whole notion. That he’s gone and won’t wake up again. They’ll just have to wait till his body yields just like his brain already did. The concept of allowing his natural death was brought up to them. We gave them the time to think and decide.
A few hours later, his mother finally decided to put her signature on his son’s A and D form. I know It was a hard and painful decision for her. It wasn’t the conventional way of things. ‘Aren’t children supposed to bid farewell to their parents when they get older and became sickly and not the other way around when parents have to decide for a son’s death matters at his young age? ‘
The ongoing inotropic drug that kept his heart beating will be consumed and CPR, defibrillation, and artificial drugs will not be given in the event of cardiac arrest. I have given them an approximate time as to when will the drug last. I suggested them to use the remaining time they have left to formally bid their goodbyes to him. They are like being timed for a short chance to be with him for the last time. That few hours left wouldn’t be enough to accept the passing of a loved one whom you thought you would spend the coming years with.
We signed on a no assurance policy contract the moment that we were born. Impermanence is the only thing that’s permanent. They say that we should live our life as if it’s our last day on Earth but those who are dying would say they should live their life as if they’re going to stay a lot longer. Life is so complex to comprehend and death is too wise to outsmart. But we don’t actually have to do such things because it’s beyond our scope to phantom life and death. What we can do as a mere human is to Hope and just live.
“Every Night we go to bed, with no assurance of waking up the next morning, but we still make plans for tomorrow… That’s Hope” -Anonymous
By Francis Bryan S. Ruizo, RN. Francis Bryan Ruizo is an aspiring content writer, wanderer, reader, a cook and a coffee lover. He works full time as a Critical Care Nurse where he spent most of his passion in taking care of the critically ill patients. His greatest task is to learn continuously from people and experiences. He believes that life’s most wonderful moments are the simplest ones. His ultimate goal is to inspire.