Saturday, March 21, 2009
I was working in the pediatric ICU this weekend, and there's a little boy there who's essentially waiting to die. His organs have stopped working, and everytime I'm at work we have a couple false alarms when he stops breathing, but his parents have asked us to not intubate him. Anyway, this night he had a quiet night, and I went in early in the morning to check on him. I went into his room, and his brother and sister and parents were all in the room sleeping. His brother and sister had crawled into the bed with him, and the image of them all sleeping in that little bed was so striking. We get used to treating our sick patients like fragile broken dolls, but these kids were all intertwined with each other, with IV lines and GI tubing snaking inbetween their legs and arms. The little girl's hand was flopped across her sick brother's face. For some reason, it made me think of Chelsie. I think the older I get, the better I get at interacting with people without really seeing them. The busier you get, the more parts of you life you put on autopilot. There are quite a few people I've known and worked with for years, and yet they still feel like strangers because I've never spent time really getting to know them. The one thing I remember most about Chelsie, was when you were with her, she was so present. She never glanced away in the middle of a conversation. She never responded with nice conversation fillers. She was able to connect with the conversation, and force you to be present too. She was never on autopilot with anybody, and I really loved that about her.