Monday, September 28, 2009

fringes of hope.

She told me she felt fine. “Just tired,” she said.

So we transfused blood to bring her dangerously low hemoglobin up. Hoping that the fatigue would subside.

She told me she felt better. “Still tired,” she said.

So we stole a vial of the blood we’d given her & ordered more lab tests. Hoping that we could find some answers.

She told me she felt hungry. “Just no appetite,” she said.

And so we took a picture of her belly. Hoping that the “tired” & the “hungry” would all make sense.

She told me she felt anxious. “I’m just not feeling well,” she said.


I looked over those lab results. And so did the residents. And so did the attendings.

And we made the appropriate phone calls.





And we told her that she had cancer. “Everywhere,” we said.

So she started crying, because she’d ignored her body. She’d lied about her vaginal bleeding. She’d forgotten to tell us about her anemia over the last 4 years. She’d skipped her doctors appointments & forgone annual check-ups. She’d deceived herself into thinking that she was fine. When she knew better. She said she knew better!

And we smiled. And tried to console her. And tried to pass along hope on the fringes of anger & resentment & acceptance.

She wiped her tears. And asked if she could “Please go home.”

So we signed her discharge orders. And there was nothing left to say.

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