THE TYPES OF DYING PATIENTS
Recently I read a blogpost in NYtimes about the stages of dying. Oddly enough as a working emergency doctor it made me do what I’ve never done before.
Write about it.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said ‘Nothing tells you more about a person than the way he dies.’
The incipient illnesses that lead up to the harrowing chronicles of death often give rise to three main types of dying patients among all others. The hopelessly naive, The hopelessly withdrawn and The hopelessly hopeful.
It’s easy dealing with the first. You can order them, counsel them , threaten them, manipulate them as per their grades of deteriorating illness and they will obey you like a corpse. You tell them to sacrifice three toads, a toenail, and the blood of a virgin in a boiling cauldron on a full moon night… and they will do so without batting an eyelid. The ones who treat doctors like God and believe no profanities should be uttered against God’s will. It’s heartlessly hurting to see such patients deteriorate.
The second group is comparatively difficult to deal with. They give you a glimpse of the incipient realities of life. The materialists who realise the futility of hoarded wealth on the deathbed of profound betrayals only to end up in an ailing body, now more fragile than a chicken’s egg. The ones agonising agitating cursing exuberantly. Each laboured breath rattling their worn out body into a deeper abyss. The clot slowly moving up their lungs, the constantly worsening air hunger, the bloodied vomit slowly choking their cigarette smoked lungs. The epiphanies slowly turning to cacophonies.
The third group, the ones never winning and never being defeated. The ones who answer fate’s every treachery with their customary elegance and felicity. With every part of them that heals, it heals a part of you too. They are the ones who usually pass from one world to another gracefully like a lover sensually surrendering into the night’s embrace. So much peace. Their corneas reflecting years of flashback in the glassy cloudiness of those last stares. The merciless tongue bites. The quietly shattering spines. The final dissolution into the stardust. The end of all longings!
@Jaanewoman blogs at her site: “Acousticstethoscope: The rantings of an operating room Sylvia Plath.“
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