Life lessons from a patient who survived 

(Disclaimer: I received verbal consent from my patient to share about my experience with him.)

Last week, I wrote about a patient of mine who almost died… twice. And I was there with him. I have been visiting him regularly and I am happy to announce that he is now stable. After a month of not seeing his wife, he is now at home with her. 🙂

The weekend before his final operation, I visited him the Friday before I went off to Stockholm. I told him I was going home to sing. He told me that he wishes he could hear me sing sometime. He told me he enjoyed jazz, and so I decided to learn “Fly me to the moon” by Frank Sinatra to perform it the same evening. I showed him the video the coming Monday and was happy to see him smile, laugh and slightly calmer before his upcoming operation. However as he was still nervous, I decided to follow and observe his operation, so I could be there with him as he lay there during his awake surgery. He was grateful.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKdGmgoA2jG/?taken-by=fileea

 

Right before he went home, I visited him for one final time. As usual, laughter and words of wisdom were exchanged. Before saying goodbye, he asked for my name on a piece of paper so he would remember me. I wrote my name down and handed it to him as I told him his full name. I will never forget you either I said.

So to remember him not as a patient but as a person, here are a few wise words from him that I know I will bring along with me throughout the rest of my life. Things I learnt that is not because he was a patient, but because he’s a person caring for another. Note, most advice were aimed at my lovelife…

1.

Gör något som du brinner för. Om du inte brinner för det, sluta. Annars kommer du inte göra bra ifrån dig.

“Do something you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about something, stop. Otherwise, you won’t excel.”

2.

När du träffar någon ska det gå långsamt, så att du hinner se både fördelarna och nackdelarna av en person och kan göra ett bra beslut

“When you meet someone, take it slowly so you have time to see both the pros and cons of the person to make a good decision”

3.

När du är i ett förhållande är det DU som ska bestämma, så att allt går som du vill att det ska gå och du blir glad

“When you are in a relationship, it is YOU who should decide, so that everything will be how you want it to be and you will be happy”

4.

Gör alltid tid åt din familj, i slutändan är det de som alltid kommer finnas där för en

“Always make time for your family, because in the end they will be the ones who will always be there for you”

5. And last but not least my absolute favourite… (I hope you guys understand I’m always laughing each time he gives me advice on my lovelife)

Om han inte kommer eller gör någonting för din skull så är han inget att ha

“If he doesn’t attend or do anything for you then he’s no one for you to have”

Oh dear patient of mine, I hope you are enjoying your time drinking red wine with your wife at home. I will never forget you!

In the end though, what did I really learn? Medicine goes a long way, but empathy goes even further.

 

My patient hugged me goodbye :)

For the past two weeks, I have been placed in Infection, and this final week I have been placed in the wards. But I’ll write more about this Infection placement some other time.
During the entire week, I have been in charge of a patient ever since he came into the ward. I was there when he came in, and watched him improve with the antibiotics as the days went by. I was sent in to take a quick history with him alone, and I even met his wife in the corridor. She was looking for him, and luckily I knew where he was.
Today, his infection had improved so much, that he was ready to go home.
I typed out his discharge notes, and came to him with the doctor in charge. Since he was my patient, I was going to discharge him. I gave him my papers, explained what we had done and asked him if he had any questions. At the end of the consultation, I stretched out my hand to say goodbye and to wish him well.
He took my hand and shook it, but then afterwards, he pulled me in for a big hug, thanking us for taking good care of him during his stay.
“I have felt very well taken care of during my entire stay here! At first I was quite angry about it, but you all have been so nice towards me. Thank you very much!”

It is not always you actually manage to reach out to a patient, and for them to understand that you want what is best for them. But when you do reach out to them, the feeling of knowing that something you have done has helped someone else feel better, and for that person to actually appreciate it, is priceless.

giphy