Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Weekly News: Tofu, Life and Passing

Asian Chicken Salad from Pei Wei...
minus chicken, plus tofu

My wonderful extern, 'K', and HUS, 'V', were so awesome and went out to get us food for dinner at work last night. The consensus was Pei Wei, a step down from the pricey PF Chang's, but equally yummy. One of the ICU nurses, who happens to be a vegetarian recommended the Asian Chicken Salad but instead of chicken, tofu. Keeping with my low carb, low lipid diet, I decided that this was a good option and decided to try something new. So this week's new experience helped me to stay on course. They forgot the ginger dressing (which everyone who had tried it before claimed it to be "fabulous") so I tried it plain... the mint leaves were somewhat overpowering so I resorted to Newman's Own Italian (my favorite and loaded with bad stuff... so just a drizzle). It was pretty good and I would order it again. I expected tofu to be mushy white ick but it was pretty darn firm and tasty. I was actually surprised that it LOOKED a lot like chicken strips.
On another note... work news. A patient that I had been taking care of for the last four nights passed away. The multitude of family that was there at the beginning of the shift had just left, except for two. I was there with his son and his wife when he took his last breath. It is an indescribable experience to witness such a thing. My heart went out to his family as he came in a few nights ago, walking, talking, laughing, waiting for treatment when things took a turn for the worse. Such a nice person in general. I am so glad that my patient had family there with him when he finally left this earth. Mostly though, I am glad his son decided to stay. He was the one I was most concerned about because he did not seem ready to lose his dad. He will now have this moment and memory that he was there for his dad in his final hour. He passed quietly and peacefully.
When I tell people that I work on an oncology unit I get asked quite a bit if losing patients bothers me or if it gets too depressing. Yes, I have to admit that it is overwhelming at times but for the most part I am grateful that I am able to make such a difficult time for people a little more bearable a burden. When he finally passed, I was sad for the family. I took a long look at my patient and felt more sad knowing what a decent person he was and what a loss it is that he is gone.
It's funny though, that while I was alone with him, cleaning him, packing up his things, that I only began to tear up when I saw, among his clothing, some nice pants, shoes and a pair of suspenders. I'm not sure why it affected me like it did but I can see him not as a patient but as a person I could have said "hello" to at the grocery store or walking down the street.

I am so glad that I do what I do.


Sandi said...

Wow, that brought a tear to my eye. I so admire people like you who deal with these situations and who are there for the patients and their families.

However, tofu - not so much.

Catheroo said...

I'm a sap like Sandi, but even if I wasn't, this post would have made me cry. And ditto what she said about admiring you.

I am so glad that your patient had his son with him at the end. And I'm sure his son is comforted to know that he made sure his dad was not alone.

And I totally thought that was chicken in the salad picture.

Jenni said...

You made me well up Kathy. It must be such a difficult job, but so worth it too. I'm glad his son was with him at the end.

I was with Jeff's mom when she passed, and it was an experience I will never forget. None of her boys were there at the time, just me, her husband, and another daughter-in law. I think she waited until all the boys were gone from the room to spare them - she was protective like that.

kimmyk said...

I've always wanted to try Tofu. Now I'll give it a whirl next time. A salad would be a good place to start.

I'm not real good with people dying. I know it's a part of life and I'm not really afraid to die, but just afraid to leave my family. It's good to know there are people in this world like you...