Saturday, January 21, 2006


Resuscitating a dying patient, intubating him/her and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation thereafter, seemed as objective to me as 1-2-3. In the absence of pulses and respiration, 1. hyperventilate patient with a bag mask...2. do intubation... 3. perform cardiac massage... 4. administer epinephrine... so forth and so on. There's no emotion involved here. In order for me to really focus on what i am doing, that is stealing somebody's life from death, i must never let my heart rule over my head.

Early this morning, i performed the procedure in an extraordinary manner. While resuscitating my patient, thoughts kept on running through my mind. I was objective and detached, not knowing what to feel. Fact is, i must feel nothing. I did feel nothing. I performed the procedure well. I was in a dilemma though whether what i was feeling was the one that's appropriate for me. Being objective is what's being expected from me. What if the one that i'm saving from death however is my own blood? My patient this morning was my dad's eldest brother.

The very moment i saw him cold and clammy, i sensed impending doom. His pulses were weak and thready, gasping for dear air. Goodness, i was praying that i need not perform the resuscitation myself but the inevitable happened. While intubating him, i was telling myself,"Hey, 1st time? It's your 1st time to perform the procedure to a relative." While doing my cardiac massages, i was asking myself,"How will i tell dad about this?" When everything that's needed to be given and done was performed, i was thinking,"How will our family take this?"

I was very objective. I was very detached. I did not feel a thing, i did not feel pain or loss within. Is this what's proper for me to feel? Am i too saturated with deaths that i feel nothing even for the death of my own uncle? I may not be that close to him for i only see him once or twice a year during reunions or special occasions but i must be feeling something, a little pinch in the heart maybe. There was none though. I was totally numb.

With the flatline that i could see in his tracings is my flat affect. Not sympathizing, not comforting, too detached. For some of my colleagues, i did the right thing. If i was emotional, then i might not be able to perform the procedure well. I am just wondering though, am i still human? Movies could put me to tears now (again!). Why is it though that i feel nothing for the death of a relative? Gosh, i really am desensitized. I really needed a break...too badly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

being a doctor is really draining. kaso nga lng this is the kind of life that we chose. there's no other way out but to move on. kakayanin din natin to. i know u can get through that cel. kaw pa!