Today I saw a man without his nose. The nose has been entirely eaten by cancer, so he had a bloody hole through which he was breathing. He looked like sh*t. I mean, he had a bleeding hole and also a bloody hole in the midst of his face. Fortunately I had to speak with his room neighbor, who was sh*tting blood through a colostomy bag attached to his belly. Apparently the blood was coming from his bladder whose walls had been eaten by a colon cancer nearby, that was also spread to his liver, lungs, and the entire belly space, making the belly to increase its volume. Actually the man was also peeing blood. It is beyond my understanding if the man was peeing and bleeding into his colostomy bag, if he was peeing and bleeding through his urethra or… through all ways or by all means. I didn’t ask for clarification but, as long as he was eliminating something from or through something, he was not going to explode, so everything should be fine excepting him, who is going to die, sooner rather than later.
The oncologists have a wicked sense of humor; what am I supposed to do, psychiatrically, to such a patient?! Light his candle? Say a prayer? Discuss about the spiritual realm in the midst of blood and pee? Ask him about his sexual life and his fixations? Ask him about his feelings? Ask him if he still loves his mother? Ask him if he still hates his mother? Ask about his testament and if he recently updated it?
Ask him about today’s weather, which is rather cold for this time of the year?
Ask him about Coronavirus and about the risk he might take it from the hospital?
Bet on whether the Coronavirus can kill him faster than the metastatic cancer?
Bet on whether his full colostomy bag is going to blow up during my psy exam?
Ask him about what party he’s going to vote during the next elections?
If you think these are ridiculous questions, be advised that they truly are.
I mean, what can I possibly say to such a patient?
I ought to be creative… I am supposed to be creative…
I bluntly asked him about pains.
He said that “he is having a wonderful time”.
Being out of ideas, I asked him what he would like me to do for him as psychiatrist. Maybe a sleeping pill? Maybe something against fear? I mean, what are the options?!
He refused all medication. I later prescribed it “on demand”, in case he changes his mind.
He asked for one more day to live.
Well… that is something that even I – “an all-powerful spiritual being with an impressive record of reincarnations” – can’t grant to him.
I watched my feet rather embarrassed, only to notice the blood stains on the floor surrounding the 2 beds. Two patients bleeding together in 2 separate beds like 2 slaughtered animals: one from his bloody nose and the other one urinating and defecating and peeing abundantly from all his holes in the lower part of his body…
And they say medicine is a beautiful profession…
And suicidal folks say they dislike life… They should visit oncology for a bit of reframing regarding life… Perhaps they should hear a man begging for one more day to live… That has a power to change a lot of inexperienced minds that commit suicide at the slightest stress or illusion of abandonment. And if someone is certain to end his life, a “view” similar to the one I saw today has the power to instill doubt even in the most confident soul on this planet…
My soul is heavy today. I see that the Covid-19 is in full bloom here. I still try to imagine how to put a mask on the face of a man without a nose. And I always bet on cancer in a contest with the Covid in a situation similar to the one of the second patient. Actually, that man has so little time to live that even the Covid doesn’t have enough time to do its job.
And… I almost forgot… a lot of money has been earned today in the hospital… It was Salary Day (Yay!!!) , the most important day of the month and the most important day in most people’s life.
For my patient, Today was also the most important day… of his life. It was probably his last one.