Where else to put this but "Off-Topic"? I'm not sure why I'm writing this. I guess I just need to get it off my chest.

Charles (not his real name)is a 22 year old patient I am taking care of. He has a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy and has outlived his life expectancy, but is now near the end. As his muscles have disintegrated, he has lost all ability to move, talk, and eat. His skin has broken down and now is covered with painful open sores.

His breathing is shallow and slow, as the muscles that carry out that function are ceasing to function. He is heavily medicated with painkillers so he seldom opens his eyes. He did have a period of lucidity today, interacting with staff, laughing and smiling. Its not unusual for an individual to have such a rally just before the end comes. His mother is laying beside him in bed, wanting to be as close as possible when his final breath is taken. She has known this day would come since he was born. I guess that doesn't make it any easier.

I've seen patients die before, but usually not this young. I have kids of my own this age. Once I was this age. I think of all of the things in life that he will miss, good and bad. How is this fair? Why did he have to have such a short life of suffering? I know. Everything happens for a reason. In other words, there is no answer.

But in my usual self-centered way, I also think, "Has my life really been so bad? Do I exagerate the pain and suffering I've experienced for the sake of drama? Or would I have been better off leaving the planet like him at 22? Why did I get chosen to get so messed up? Why must I stick it out to the end? And how many years do I really have left to make things right before I die? I know. Everything happens for a reason. In other words, there is no answer.

All I know is that for whatever time I have left in this world, my job is to live well, laugh often, and love much. Bessie Anderson Stanley wrote a poem in 1904 titled "Success" which sums it up:

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.


Edited by Jude (11/01/13 10:10 AM)
_________________________
Seems I've got to have a change of scene
Every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to leave before I start to scream
Joe Cocker