I’m now back on the inpatient side for a few weeks. The stories I encounter are often hard to believe, if not tragic.
One case I can’t get out of my mind is a young man we saw recently. 25 years old and already with 4 very young children. He had been in Iraq for a 1 year tour, and has been home for just a few months. I suppose the adjustment, and stresses of life were just too much. He choose to end his life, taking a gun to his chin and pointing upwards.
The tragedy, besides the act of suicide, is that it failed- he was brought to our hospital, with the bullet passing through his nasal passages and eyes. Unable to swallow or talk from the injury they placed a trach tube – that thing people can breath with under the Adam’s apple. Severe damage to the eyes made it necessary for now to sew the lids closed.
Can you imagine? Already the perception of his life was too much – now he’s woken up to a black sightless reality, unable to talk. He communicates with a notepad and pen- often, because he can’t see, he invariably writes over words already there, making communication very difficult. As you can imagine, he can’t be alone- he’d be unable to call for help, or see to find a button to alert the nursing staff.
I’m not sure how he’s going to make it, but he scribbles on his notebook, “I want to go on, to get better, to be here for my kids”