Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

The Ballad of Edward and Marie: Part II

(In case you missed it, read part I here)

As time slowly passed...seconds into minutes, minutes in hours, and hours into days, we'd all love to be able to say that Edward finally came to grips with the passing of his beloved Marie. We'd love to be able to say the healing process began, but the truth was, it never really did.

There have only been a few times in my career that I've given my personal cell phone number to a patient's family-- this was one of those times. Each day I'd hear from either Edward or his family. First, it was Edward more. He'd call me to tell me how much he missed her. He called about funeral date and times. We talked about the Cowboys and photography and other random things to try to clear his mind. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

Eventually, I received a call from Edward's family that I had hoped I would never get. Even in his near perfect health, now it was him who was in the hospital not even two months after she passed.

Little did any of us know (not even the family), Edward stopped taking care of himself the day Marie died. No longer was he working out each morning, eating healthy, and taking his medications. Some call this failure to thrive. That next day at work, Edward was transferred to my floor.

As I went in to take his vital signs at the beginning of my shift, I didn't recognize him. He was rail thin, and very weak sounding. I don't think he recognized me either.

"Hello, Edward...how are you feeling today?" I asked, being polite, although the sight before me said enough.

"Not good, sir. I just don't have anything left in me. I hurt all over, and I can't eat."

The doctors had spoke with Edward and his family about inserting a PEG tube or starting IV fluids to renourish him. Edward didn't want any of that. Unlike Marie, he wasn't a candidate for Hospice because technically, he didn't have a terminal illness. So we were treating him for "comfort measures" only.

Edward was only with us for a few more weeks. He never signed DNR paperwork, so the day we coded Edward was tough for all of us. Although each and every one of us in that room were professionals and didn't have any true attachment to him, it was one of the harder times I've had to work a code.

Imagine coding your grandfather. Or your best friend. Or even someone you know as a bit of an acquaintance. Imagine knowing the person behind the pale face. That's the only way I can describe it.

At 3:59pm, we lost a good man. A man of his country, of God, and someone with a gentle and caring nature. But most of all, we lost a man who loved a woman for sixty years.

More often than not, we are witnesses to tragedy. We aren't always healers, heroes, or even life-savers. A lot of what we do can't be measured in moments of happiness.

I can only hope that Edward joined his Marie in Heaven that day. It may not have been his plan, but someone had that in store for him. The doctor's never diagnosed Edward. There was no medical reason for his death, aside from Cardiac Arrest. He had no health problems, no heart conditions, and was fit and healthy, until his wife passed away.

I'm no doctor, but I'd say he died of a broken heart. It's entirely possible.

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