Friday, November 18, 2011

Life is short

Just visited a very close family friend who's in the hospital battling with late stage cancer. It breaks my heart to see him lose his speech and unable to communicate verbally. It's even more heart wrenching to hear him groaning in pain and constantly moving his arms and head back and forth due to the pain from cancer. It's inhumane to be suffering from such pain. He doesn't recognize his wife, family or friends. His medical team is saying they are doing the best they can to make him comfortable but it's very obvious their strategies are not working. His attending physician has not visited him once since he was admitted into the hospital 4 days ago.  He hasn't slept a wink for 3 days since he's been so restless. He would close his eyes and open them right up as if he's afraid to fall asleep.
 I wish doctors were more compassionate towards those patients who are on the last journey of their lives. An attending physician giving out orders to be carried out by the various resident doctors without examining the patient physically him/herself does not equal good patient care. The human side of medical care is non-existent in this case. What a shame.
It's been 14 months since my friend was first diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Since then, he's been undergoing very aggressive chemotherapy. Surgery was not an option because of the location of the tumor mass. In spite of terrible side effects (severe diarrhea, unable to keep food down, weight loss, hair loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, etc) from chemo, he's been keeping his spirit up until now. Before the cancer diagnosis, he was a fit and lean person, full of energy and always on the go. Now, seeing him laying in the hospital, I just can't believe this is the same person. He has lost almost 80 pounds thru this ordeal. He's been reduced to a skeleton with a swollen abdomen and legs. My friend will be 51 in a couple of months. It's sad to know he'll probably not make it.

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