Someone I Miss

Dave was a patient of one of the neurologists I used to work for.  God do I miss that man.  I think I’ve mentioned him before in this blog but it’s a story I need to repeat today.

Dave had a terrible neuropathy that affected most of his body causing overwhelming pain just about everywhere.  He was a healthy middle-aged guy who had managed to retire early from his career as a high school football coach.   He worked his butt off to reach early retirement and, not three months in, he began to suffer symptoms of the terrible disease process he suffered.

The poor man could not find any relief.  Conventional medication did not settle his pain no matter what was tried.  He had a morphine drip at home that did little to dull the pain when it was at its worst and when he was at his wit’s end he would come into the Emergency Department to beg for help.  Because Dave’s condition was under the care of the neurologist, she was always the one called to come treat him.  No one wanted to mess with his medications as they barely understood his condition.

The neurologist was very good at her job (very, very good) but she lacked compassion most times.  I would pass along the message to her that Dave wanted to come into Emerg and she would usually say no with a dismissive wave of her hand.

“I cannot do anything for his pain.  Tell him not to come to Emerg as there is nothing I can do!”  She would have me relay to her patient.

Of course, I’d treat him with more care in my words.  I’d talk with him for a few minutes, soothing voice, understanding.   I’d explain why it wasn’t a good idea to come in; the ambulance ride, moving around so much in the hospital plus, he knew as well as I did that there would be no relief for him here.  He needed to find a way to cope through the flare up on his own and I told him he could do it.  For some reason, he listened to me and followed my advice to the letter.

Occasionally I would get a call from his lovely wife who was at her wit’s end herself.  She would beg me to talk to Dave, even just for a few minutes when he was really suffering.  I’d often hear him screaming in the background through desperate pleas and tears.  The stress on the two of them much have been so overwhelming.

“He always feels better after talking to you.”  She would tell me.  I always agreed.  I wasn’t about to let this guy suffer all alone…not if I could help in some way.

Today, and all days, I wish I could talk to him now.  I wish I could pick up the phone and chat about how difficult it is to live in pain.  He’d understand very well…much like my friends here who suffer from ongoing pain that seems to have no relief.

Dave passed away a few years back but I don’t think I’ll ever forget him.  Now and then I ask him for help…for understanding and compassion.  I’m pretty sure he gives it to me as he is able.  I’m glad he’s out of pain now.  I wish I could tell him that this morning.



About Grainne

My name is Grainne. This blog has been with me for years now and has served as a journal, a confessional, an outlet and a place for me to create and express my love of life. Thank you for stopping by and for becoming a part of this life long journey of mine. I appreciate every single one of you who takes the time to do so. :)

4 responses to “Someone I Miss”

  1. paindepression says :

    You were his only saving grace. Your compassion helped ease his pain in ways no one else could. You are a beautiful and caring woman and I am sure he does listen to you when you call out to him. I believe our bodies die, but we never do. I call out to my son, sometimes. Before he died, he had bowel obstructions from surgery when his appendix ruptured at age 9. He would be in so much pain and he told me he did not want to ever have a NG tube again, then he died in a car accident. I try to remind myself how much pain he would go through when his bowel would block up and remind myself that, at least now, he no longer has that pain. Having someone that can relate and understand our suffering in pain is so important. We often feel so alone and our families just can’t understand what we are going through, since they do not have to live in pain every moment of their lives.

    • Grainne says :

      Every time you speak of your son I learn something new. That must have been horrible, having to go through that pain at such a young age. My son is nine right now…*chills* I’ve had to force him into some hard medical situations as well…I think Colt understands my pain on some level..maybe even more so because of his autism.

      You are such a together woman! I know it may not always feel that way but you are a survivor for sure. Thank you for the kind words about my friend Dave. I do hope he’s up there, pain free and smiling. xo

  2. KittyHere says :

    It is sad to think doctors, nurses, other health professionals turn off compassion to ‘save’ themselves. They might was well be auto mechanics. Sure some aspects of the human body might be like a car or a truck but…

    • Grainne says :

      I agree. I know many doctors/health care professionals who have so much compassion it leaks from their pores but for every one of them there are three machines who simply analyze and discharge over and over again. Makes me glad I didn’t go into medicine as a career. The ones who care get eaten alive.

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