Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

He’s So Young

I have always appreciated the emotional sacrifice that my caregivers gave, whether nurses, doctors, or family members.  The following is but one possible thought that might be considered:

He’s So Young

I have had this job for nearly ten years.  I have seen hundreds of people come through the doors of our office.  Patients have undergone cardiac stress tests performed by me for reasons such as physical shape, conditioning, cholesterol, age, and heredity.  One day does not necessarily stand out from another.

 This morning started out no differently than most others in my career as a cardiac technician.  My first patient is a 42 year-old male who has been sent to our office for a nuclear stress test by his general practitioner.  This is odd, and clearly a waste of time, money, and benefits.  There is no reason for him to be undergoing a test of this level.  In any case, I call him to the implementation room to install his IV line so that the radioactive dye can be injected for the x-rays to be taken prior to, and after the treadmill exercise.

 What a baby he is!  He is a cancer survivor and so intimidated and squeamish as I try to put in his line.  Yes, patients have a fear of needles, but this patient is so over the top.  With the IV now inserted, the dye is injected and the first set of x-rays are taken.  Nothing unusual is noticed.  I have him follow me to the exam room, where the next set of technicians are waiting to hook up his EKG lines and then he gets on the treadmill.

 I move on to my next patient, not thinking anymore about Paul.

 Within ten minutes, Paul is led back to the x-ray room.  That is odd.  At least a half an hour should have gone by before he returned to my care.  In any case, the second set of x-rays needs to be done which will now show the blood flow to his heart under stress.  Once the pictures are done, I will escort him back to the waiting room until the results are read, and then I will release him to go home.

 There is a definite age that you need to be in order to vote.  You have to be so old to get into an rated R movie.  There is a minimum drinking age.  These ages are so long ago, so young.  Cancer does not discriminate based on age.  Undiagnosed health conditions lead to shocking and sudden obituaries with high school student athletes.  So young.

 I am not the doctor.  But I do have basic knowledge of what these photos mean.  The colors on the film are either orange or purple.  In the beginning, his heart shows that blood flow is just as it should be and this is confirmed with the orange color, the blood.  But as stress is introduced, the treadmill, the orange changes to purple.  He has a blockage.  It looks fairly serious to me, and I am just a nurse.

 The waiting room is now mostly empty except for the first patient of the day.  This will be the last time that I see him.  He will be referred to one of our cardiologists and the staff that will be needed to save his life.  Mr. Edelman?  Oh my God, he is so young.  My children are his age.  This could be my child.  He is so young.  I want to cry.

 “I am going to take you back to Dr. S’s office.  Dr. S would like to talk with you.”  He is getting bad news, and he knows it.  You can see it.  But he still gets out, “Thank you, you have been so nice to me.”

 I do not know what exactly his diagnosis or prognosis will be.  I do believe in our doctors to save this man’s life.  It is just that he is so damned young.  It is just not fair.

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