Sunday, August 28, 2005

Silence of the man

There is no good way to tell someone he has cancer. Reactions vary, but usually you'll see a reaction you've never seen before.

I'm working with a lung specialist now and I went to see a gentleman with a mass found in his lungs.I usually get the patient's age from the chart just to avoid asking about it, because all of them including men hate this question.

I forgot to do that today, so I asked him about his age,

It looked he was waiting for the question "I'm 51, and TODAY I'll turn 52"

I said "Sorry I don't have a gift for you!"He laughed

"The best gift would be to let me out of here (the hospital)"

I went back my boss to look at his CAT scans. There was a big tumor with the size of a tennis ball sitting there in his lungs. This was probably cancer.

We went back to break the news "you probably have lung cancer".

Very quietly he asked "So is this really a cancer?"

My boss was very clear "All the cases like yours that I've seen in my life turned to be a cancer, we'll do a confirmatory test but this will probably show cancer. It has spread to many lymph nodes and to the liver, it's quite advanced......"

Silence prevailed. He looked straight into the window without uttering a word for five minutes, fixing his eyes on it as if he was trying hard to read something written there.

With such big lung cancer spreading to different areas, the chance of survival is ...nil. The chance of living for a few years is also extremely low.

He was still looking at the window, and his wife, who I knew later was a breast cancer survivor, was holding his hand.

In such moments you would like to jump and tell him "it will be OK, it's not that serious, you'll be cured" but we would be lying to him. He will not be OK, it really is very serious, and he won't be cured."

The news was my birthday gift to this man, on his last birthday.


Manar said...

That's the reason why I never went to study medicine....

Hareega said...

That's good reason to avoid medical school. You also avoided a lot of crap which you were gonna see if you didn't.

M!R@CHK@ said...

OH GOD :( i am speechless

raindrop said...

i hate such situations
it's hard and tough but he should know the truth..