What should I do? My patient just died in my hands.

I am here sitting alone.

7 pm

The eerie silence in the side room makes your body cold but your heart alert.

There’s sounds everywhere. Here, there’s constant ventilator’s beeping of alive patient divided by intermittent alarms of dying ones.Here being sonorous means you are alive.

Welcome to CCU. Where the only thing you dread is loud, red sound.

710pm

As I am sitting here in the side room, I am feeling cold.

I am feeling teary.

I am feeling sad.

I am feeling numb.

My patient just died in my hands. Both metaphorically and medically.

And I can’t walk.

I can’t speak.

All I am feeling is this vast ocean of tortuous silence.

As I write this down, there’s another flood rushing from my eyes.

I am feeling lightheaded, as if just a small prick, and a like a balloon it will fly high away anywhere.

Why did he have to die? I don’t have the answer.

3 of us gave CPR the best we can. And yet we failed. This failure is much deeper than it looks.

As I look down on my palms, I feel there’s blood on it. His blood.

In this moment, I wish to be wrapped around in a warm blanket and be kept in my Amma’s womb. Again.

Take me home Amma. It’s too cold here. It’s too silent here. It’s to heavy here.

It is too heavy to be a healer.

It is too difficult to be a doctor.

It is too emotional to be a medico.

In this moment, I am just feeling my heart beating, mingled with buzzing of bellavista ventilators.

It is beating slowly. It’s afraid if it’s too fast it will make some noise. It just wants to fade away. Fade away into this syrup smelling air of CCU.

My soul wants to escape. Escape from this prison of a body and hug some warm soul tightly. So much tightly that an eternity passes away.

As I look around, my seniors, my super exhausted, super hardworking anesthesia residents are toiling in and out. Not wasting a second. They shed some tears. And move on.

May God bless them. Infinitely.

Move on to othe patients who can be saved. Who can be salvaged.

Salvage, it’s a pretty funny thing no?

One imperfect human determining whether another damaged imperfect can survive or not.

Can live or not.

As I peep out of the side room, my mind wants to hide inside itself. Doesn’t want to face the world. Doesn’t wish to see the cold body of his. Again.

What should I do now? My patient just died in my hands.

As tears flow and drench my white N95 mask, my heart wonders,

What should I do?

Yours Only,

Dinesh Raja.

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