Like a bad sequel, the nightmare from yesterday continued today.
After telling myself that nothing is gonna get on my nerves today, I walked into the ward, determined to have a pleasant round, come what may.
Not so. What came was a very frantic daughter of a patient dying from malignancy. In a trembling voice, she said: (translated from Chinese)
“Doctor, you must let my father go home today. He knows he is dying and he wants to die at home! He said got pain here….” jabbing her pudgy fingers repeatedly at MY ribs!
I gently grabbed hold of her fingers and in a firm but gentle voice told her: “Do not touch me…!”
Truth be told, I dislike being touched, especially by shaking, trembling and panicky people with pudgy fingers.
Isn’t it a form of assault?
Anyway, on further inquiry, it turned out that the patient suddenly decided today he wants to go home and die. The daughter said he started speaking strange things and took it as a sign the end is near.
I immediately assigned a house officer to speed up the process of discharging the patient and assured the family members that the process will be done quickly and an ambulance with oxygen supply be made ready at the earliest to transport the patient home.
Unfortunately the patient had a chest tube attached to one side of his chest. I informed the family that it would take an hour at least to organize everything so that the chest tube can be removed before he could be let home. They said, “ok”.
The wife said “ok”
Another son said “ok”
Another daughter (they seem to appear from thin air), came up to me and asked me to re-ask the patient (her father) again if he really wants to go home! I replied, “it was your decision to take him home, so why the need to ask him?’
She said, “ok”, in between sobs.
Meanwhile, I reminded the whole family that 2 days ago, I did raise the issue of them taking the patient home as the prognosis was grave but they didn’t want to consider the matter. They all nodded in agreement.
And so, with a speed seldom seen in the civil service, the chest tube was removed and the paper work was done!
This is where the plot thickens and the nightmare intensifies!
Meanwhile…another son (good grief…how big is this family anyway…?!) apparently went off to consult a Chinese deity and was informed by the deity (I didn’t ask which one) that his father would surely recover and even spend Chinese New Year, in the pink of health! And so he called his mother on the phone and relayed the ‘good news’!
Then the mother came up to me, just as I was about to leave the ward for my clinic downstairs and she said:
“Uh…doctor, can my hubby be kept here in the hospital?”
I almost ruptured a few arteries in my brain on hearing it.
“Why?”, I asked in a quiet even tone (remembering my vow not to let anything fray my nerves today).
“Well, my son consulted a deity just now and the deity said, my hubby will recover and definitely spend Chinese New Year! So we want to keep him here! Can ah? Can ah?”
“But we just took our his chest tube, made the ambulance arrangements, and did all the paper work!”, I replied.
“Oh….hmmm…so cannot keep him here hor?”, she asked again.
They decided to take him home.
I hate to contradict their deity but I seriously do not think the patient will be able to live till CNY.
Gaargh!!!! I have Acute Intensivus Distressus Syndrome (AIDS).
Fri, 290110 @ 2010