Saturday, September 27, 2008

Appetite for Deconstruction

Better than your brightest lights
Because they still can’t penetrate the darkness
Of the heart with their song of
The ballad of the buried woman

Dazed and confused up for nights
Soaring in fingertip reminiscence
Of larger bore needles bored to tears
Once again, you can't imagine the depths

Every night, every shift
We wade through people who feel like human debris
Rendered bed-ridden by too much grease, not enough time
And hard earned paychecks that as slim as their chances
Of getting out of here alive, this time anyway.

You know me, and I know you
We both know we are better than that
But empathy is in short supply for the perceived
The poorly recepted. The gravely misunderstood patient

Whose bad judgment has left her on my unit
Confined to a giant bed, that rotates her adipose years
From side to side, to keep her skin from obliterating
And showing us that the color of her soul is a milky yellow

She wears a mask during sleep that I would have thought cool as a child
But it only prolongs her suffocation, from yearly daily routines
That provided sustenance, but coated her vasculature a bulbous insulation
And now this mass, my patient, this woman, teeters on the brink
Of becoming an empty vessel that five of us can barely move

And she suffocates when sleeps on her right side
Her lungs squeeze themselves masochistically when we roll her on her right
I watch her face turn from turbid fleshy pink, to turpid red, to ending purple
She is a human so huge she can't live anymore

And she’s a dime a dozen. Well, at least that’s the deal she got every morning she told me with a smile on her face.
“In between litigation, and depositions I found time for Chinese. In between discovery and cross examination I had a two meatball grinders with a chicken on the side. And during bathroom breaks during trials I ate boxes of krispy kreme donuts and chased it down with 1/2 gallon of chocolate milk. I don’t think I’ve gone without a soda during my waking hours since I was a 15 year old fat girl. I drank diet coke for twenty years, but that’s like switching form Marlboro Reds to lights, really what does it matter?
But I never did drugs, never smoked, never had sex. I stayed disciplined, dedicated, I listened so well. I am an excellent attorney. I just can’t breathe anymore.” Her Trio cell phone rings. She answers it. I see the custom made three piece suit still on the chair in her room. I see the diamond studded feminine Rolex awaiting security to come and lock it up. Her engorged fingers have many rings with precious bright stones, some colored the same as the incredible amount of fluid I will see leave her cracked open chest later on that night. Like a fortune cookie. What did the fortune say? It said:

“We are all here. We are all here.”

I think dignity and control are fleeting in any situation.

But I have paperwork to learn how to do properly. Blood to draw, progress notes to read, sugar to check, insulin to give. IV’s to titrate, dressings to change, wounds to pack, pictures of wounds to take, charting to chart, labs to ponder, family to let in, sheets to change, a body to clean. And these are the “eassy” patients. The painfully ironic “lighter load” patients. I have to explain that we can breathe for you but the bacteria that traveled from your vagina to your kidneys to your intra stellar galaxy will get you first and I must remark that I never seen anybody with such a rapidly dropping BP answer so many seemingly important phone calls. Never has sepsis had such a soft punch.
Later on, something popped in that chest, and the megalomaniac brilliant cocksucker cardiothoracic degenerate surgeon did surgery in her temporary office, the air support bed. And just before she became a live dissection a passerby would have heard one of us say from her room:

“So you want to know the life of a mind?”