Dear Junior Dr’s and medics out there …
You often end up saying sorry to me.
Usually its when tears start to fall, even though I desperately try not to cry, when you insert the 6/7th needle into my arms/hands desperately trying to find an access point because my veins are not playing ball, as usual. OR if that hasn’t got me, it will be when you have tried to get my blood gas for maybe the 3/4 time. Or when a Consultant has come to do it, but still they struggle. Or when you’ve had to numb my wrist so you can just dig around a bit.
You say sorry to me when it all just gets a bit much and I can’t help but cry.
You say sorry to me when you have to come and talk to me about HDU or intensive care, and the possibilities of ventilation. Something I’m starting to understand and get more and more used to, however each and every time my respiratory system goes into close/melt down it still feels just as scary as the time before.
It seems like you say sorry to me a lot.
At the same time as working quickly, tirelessly and wisely to save my life.
Because thats what you do.
You save my life.
This time last year I was in hospital (a regular occurrence at the moment) but I was not responding to medications. You were making phone calls to move me to ITU. My OBS were insane, and my oxygen levels crazy. Things were going badly, fast. You called out the consultant who was covering the entire hospital that night. And you stayed with me a lot.
You were calm, cool and collected. Even when I asked if you needed my Pastors phone number because if I was going to die it would be important for me to see him.
You were calm, cool and collected when with the Consultant who came pretty quickly you explained the options. The option of a medication that I’ve once had a severe reaction, but which once I’ve responded to.
You were calm, cool and collected when tears silently fell (I was too tired, and too unable to actually breathe to cry properly) as you explained the risks. The risks of having this medication. And the risks of not having it. Neither looked good at that point.
And just before I lost consciousness for a moment or two I told you to do what you thought was best. Because I was too poorly to know or care right then.
And you did. You did what you thought was best. In that moment. That emergency life/death moment.
For me. You did what you thought was best, for me.
A couple of hours later I came round enough to realise I was still alive. I had an ITU nurse with me. And you. You were there. Apparently you hadn’t gone far at all.
You saved my life.
Thank you for that time, and the times before, and the times since. There has been a few times you have saved my life.
And a few times where things have not gotten quite so serious but have still needed time in hospital, medications and you.
I can not do this thing called ‘living’ with out you.
I can not do this thing called living with out you, you the junior Dr who treats me when I rock up at the hospital, either by ambulance, myself, or via my GP who has admitted me directly onto the emergency assessment ward.
I can not do this thing called living without you, you the one who has trained and is training for years to be that emergency medic who helps me in a crises. Or you who has trained for even MORE years and become that Consultant who also gives me the care I need which so far has always got me back to a point where I can walk (slowly) OUT of the hospital and carry on for a bit longer.
I can not do this thing called living without you who has decided to specialise and become a GP, my Gp, who makes sure that on the days I am ‘well’ ish I can keep on. The GP who gives me half an hour appointments when I’ve needed to just sit and cry. Or when he has needed that time to explain where things are at and where to go next.
I can not do this thing called living without you, the junior Dr who has specialised in Respiratory medicine who see’s me on a very regular basis and who also makes sure that on the whole, apart from the crises moments I can have some quality of life. And I do. I have a quality life. Accepting I am chronically ill is hard, but I am alive.
I have good days. But I am alive. I have bad days, but I am alive.
Because of you.
I never find out much about you, really.
As I sit writing this I realise that I never find out much about you, your life, your family, what you have going on outside of that moment, that moment where you are a ‘DR’.
Sometimes I don’t even remember your names, especially you who have been my emergency ‘crises moment’ medics.
I don’t know about how many hours you have worked that week, or how long you have been on shift without a coffee, or a meal break, or even a loo one.
I never get to find out just how tough your day has been, how many difficult decisions you have had to make, how many lives you have already saved, or how many lives that day that no matter what you or anyone else could do it has not been enough.
I never get to see the tears you might sometimes shed over that one person.
You never complain to me. You never moan to me. You never yawn, or look tired to me. You never get frustrated or short fused with me even though you are probably more tired than you have ever felt in your entire life.
I never get to see that side. But I know about it, because I have friends who are Dr’s.
And because I am not stupid.
I never get to see it because I am your patient, and you are a professional. And your focus is on me.
For which I am grateful. So so grateful.
And now I want the focus to be on you.
Which is why I am writing to you.
I want to say thank you to you.
Thank you for all you do.
Thank you for the hours you put in, for the blood, the sweat, and the tears (and if anyone tells me they don’t exist, I don’t believe them).
Thank you for the price you pay to save my life.
You deserve so much more.
You deserve fair hours.
And I support you.
And so should everyone else.
With much love from a very grateful patient,