Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The bad, and the ugly...

Just found out that one of my clients. One of my first clients from when I starte here, so I've known her for over a year... is dying. She's only 62. She has been receiving substandard medical care from the first day I saw her. I kept trying to get her to switch doctors, but she wouldn't. She had a young resident/intern at a local clinic. I actually think she had a crush on him...

He just left & she finally agreed to see another doctor. The doctor just called me. She said: "Are you sitting?" Her body is riddled with cancer. The doctor could see this just from a home visit. No tests. No machinery. Her breast is deformed. Her lymph nodes... swollen...

Can you imagine, she's been seeing this other doctor for who knows how long. He's never seen it? Never noticed?!?

He's been treating her for one thing. The thing he thought was wrong with her. He never looked for anything else. THe doctor today said the other illness is SECONDARY to her cancer. She says they probably won't even be able to treat it.

The doctor herself was in shock. She said she needed time to absorb it. She said it was overwhelming. The client is blind, but she must have realized what was happening... Dr. said client is in denial... which I guess is why she never noticed what is happening...

I can't believe it. I just can't believe it. And the worst thing is... this client is SO difficult. SO difficult. I try to do so many things for her, and she won't accept. So at times I just stop. I don't call her. And now.... of course... I'm thinking... shouldn't I have pushed her harder? Told her again, and again, and again to switch doctors?!? I tried once, twice - she wouldn't do it. I gave up. I'm too busy. She's too difficult. She's "resistant." What if she was resistant because she knew there was something bad to find?!?

Oh man. This one is tough. I haven't really cried over too many of my clients... you know, they're seniors... they die.. it's organic. It's natural. THey've reached the end of their lives, good, long lives. But this?!? This?!? So unneccesary. And I was there all along.

3 comments:

CeCe said...

I'm so sorry... for you and for her. But try not to beat yourself up over it... her own DOCTOR didn't see it!! You can be there for her now and comfort her as best you can... ugh. I hate cancer.

Gwen said...

Ai! Sorry, A. This sounds tough. Your head knows, of course, that you are not really responsible, but it's hard to feel that way, I'm sure.

niobe said...

Of course, you *know* this isn't your fault. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there's something more you could have done, something different you could have tried. But, pace Donne, we are, in many ways, islands and there's only so much we can do for others when they reject our help, no matter how much we wish that weren't true.