I don't usually - well, ever - write about my patients. I won't write the personal details of this fellow, except to say that I spent maybe a half hour, maybe forty five minutes with him this morning. We didn't say much; he's been in the hospital for over three weeks now, and hasn't wanted visits from the chaplain - which is also to say, I've been by to see him a few times.
Today, I stopped in because I hadn't seen him in a while, and he's still in the hospital. When I say I spent some time with him, I don't mean we talked: I sat with him while he was in pain, trying to regain his composure, hoping the pain would pass. It didn't, not today.
I saw again him before I left work this afternoon, after his family had arrived, talking about hospice. I'm a big fan of hospice, as some of you know. I wish I could have ministered more to his family, though. Mostly I'm just sitting here this evening with his pain: I don't think you could identify him from this sketch, but this is what's in my mind's eye this evening (the Cartesian Theater, for the Dennett fans out there; I could write about the tiny robots, but I've written about this before.)
That's not what I was thinking about this morning, or this afternoon with his family, or this evening. Mostly I'm just picturing his eyes. Another day, I might draw several pictures and combine them into a horrible gif - the piercing pain, the exclamation, and then the dullness as he waits, waits for it to pass. But not this evening. Now, I still see those eyes, trying not to catch mine, but still in some small sense appreciative that I was there, with him.