Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I don't know why.. but there is at least one case of death during my night duty now a days..

Actually my colleagues have started to tease me about it..

Its not anything dramatic.. all are chronic cases.. waiting for the release that only death can provide.. from bedsores.. catheters.. and iv drips medicines and sleepless nights of agony..

Waited.. patiently..and  sometimes impatiently..by the patient. as well as the relatives...
Whatsoever.. I don't mind it.. I like to watch death arriving..


  I wait for the gasping to slow down.. the pulse to  become feeble.. and finally  the pupils to become dilated and fixed.

Waiting with the patient and his relatives I wonder how his life had been.. I say a silent prayer that the person leavng has no genuine regrets..

Recently I watched  an elderly lady breath her last.. the gasping was slowing down.. she thrust her tongue between her parched lips..

'Water ?'  I asked

She nodded softly..

A thin stream of tears trickled slowly down her sunken cheeks..

I told the sister on duty to call her husband

'Give her a sip of water.' I spoke gently..

He obliged.. she gulped the water down

Suddnly he started to weep and wheeze.. and crumpled on to the floor


We carried him to a nearby bed..

He was gasping..

Hyperventilating  actually..

 Cos of severe mental stress.. !!!!

 W left the dying patient and attended to him !!

He responded to treatment..

We waited for some time for him to  settle.. and went back to the dying patient..

And smoothed her death..

I remember another case.. a chronic alcoholic.. with end stage.alcoholic liver disease ..

He lay dying .. slowly..

What struck me was his son.. a Teenager.. only as old my son.. waited alone for the death to come.. only his few friends  were with him.

The man had fought with all his relatives and even his wife had left him

But the son has somehow been able to forgive him.. he waited.. for days.. on the veranda outside the ICU.. .
After the death.. the body was handed over to him.. he took over and made all the arrangements..

I was impressed by the way he did it.. soft.. sure and sad. and dignified... supported by his few friends as young as  him .
I felt like hugging him .. comforting him ..and supporting him.

But I did nothing..

Just watched and learned ...



Anonymous said...

This started as a totally creepy post for me, but towards the end, it felt good. I have quite a few best friends who are doctors and I have always wondered how they view death. Somehow, I even after they convinced me otherwise, my notion of you guys at the time of the approaching death was one of clinical professionalism.
This post proves otherwise.
But still, a little creepy!

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

You are a doctor, aren't you. It is the nature of your work to watch them die when it is the only thing you can do.
I think a dying soul doesn't need sympathy, but patience and endurance?

hope and love said...

from what i have seen.. death is a very peaceful experience.. there my be struggle initialy.. but towards the end everything slows down softly and slowly..
watching death come is a deeply spiritual experience for me...not just clinical professionalism..i am detached yes but i take it s a deeply learning experince.. and i feel sort of proud to be with that person as the soul leaves the body ..

it is diffrent when the dying person is a loved one..i am emotionaly involved like everyone else..

Melting into Oblivion said...


tis only today that i chanced upon your writings....and im glad i did.

you write from the depths...and it rings true...

the world we live in is definitely blessed with the presence of lovely souls like yours...

looking forward to more from you...


Unspoken said...

There is much to learn in suffering.

Ash said...

I agree with Trivandrumgirl and must admit this post is a bit...uncomfortable, shall we say.

Reading this reminds me when my grandfather died. I was about nine and watching him slip away, it suddenly hit me how absolutely final death is. And the realisation that no matter what, "appooppan" is never going to come back.

hope and love said...

triv giri. ash , why it disturbed u i wonder ? too morbid ? no feel good fctor? but there r many people who face these things almost daily.. and trust me.. after a while it is spirituly enriching.

AS said...

life as it unfolds, ....

lbandlav said...

no words.....!!

Ash said...

Yes, perhaps I find it too morbid. I'm a bit of a coward!

Tricksand said...

Beautiful post... i think i am posting a comment after years.. but this one.. i can't walk away without leaving a scratch on this page... its such a beautiful post coz u as u have seen so many people get down from the train....you know its "Just as simple as this".... and this end is one thing ppl are so afraid about and do all bloody things to escape from.....if there is a beginning ... there is an end... and as you dint choose your birth.. there is no point trying to choose the end...

hope and love said...

Ash :) cowards are never brave enough to admit they are cowards. Its just that you are not used to it. Tricksand , Thanks for your encouraging comment. :-) keep visiting and commenting.

Sunitha said...

Interesting writing. Like the way you said it so matter of fact, the only problem was it is not fiction but real. That was difficult to take.

Neha said...

This post gave me goosebumps. It brought tears in my eyes. It brought back flashes of memories of all the deaths I have seen. And yes, I do understand that although you are a doctor, death is something u witness come everyday, but no matter how many times we see death, and no matter how we long for it to come, its never a pleasant feeling.

Rachit said...

Death is the ultimate truth and everyone knows it yet we fear death. How strange yet true?..!! I guess it might be a tough job being in the middle of all that.