I never get used to death.
It’s the archenemy. The final battle. It’s the reason we fight disease. Sure, there’s lots of suffering we treat, but the war we wage is against death.
We know we’ll always lose patients.
We know we’ll always lose friends.
The painful part of family medicine is that the two often go hand in hand.
Covid-19 took my friend this morning. His mild cough started almost 3 weeks ago. No fever. A week later he called to say his cough worsened, and told us it started after traveling to New York. He didn’t complain much. I should know, I’ve been his doctor for 23 years. I’m not sure when I began to think of him as a friend.
My nurse and I tested him and gave him the bad news. We all agreed it’d be ok. We always try to think it’ll be ok.
A few days later he got short of breath, admitted by ambulance, intubated, and fought for his life for 5 days.
I know the statistics and data. I’ve studied the hell out of this disease for a month. But there was nothing I could do.
So I try to shake it off, remember him warmly, and put on a mask to resume the war. I never get used to it.