Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't look behind the curtain...

Mr. Saucisson didn't fit in the post-mortem bag.  We had to push his rotund belly around to stretch the heavy plastic so the zipper would reach.  And then we broke the zipper.  When the other tech went to find another bag, I looked at him.  It was eerie; the pallor of his face wasn't terribly noticeable and his eyes were slightly open, all-seeing, like the Mona Lisa.  I put my warm hand over his forehead and covered his eyes lightly. They stayed shut.

He had already passed by the beginning of my shift.  I never got to know him.  He was put into a room where crying family filed in and out all afternoon.  When they had all left, we pushed him into a far-away corridor room to clean him, then zip up the bag for the autopsy technicians to pick up.

I looked at him once more and closed the curtain.

An hour later, I was passing the staff bathroom when I heard nurses tell someone where to find the body. As one of them led the visitor down the hallway, I froze, realizing what they were going to see. Goodness forbid that this was a family member!! I raced down the hall, trying to hint to the nurse. "Um, are you going to see Mr. Saucisson? You see, he might have been moved." "Um, well, we just *changed the *linens (hard look)", "You know, we didn't expect any more family to come..." to no avail- the nurse looked at me weirdly and led him to the curtained room.  Suddenly, realization dawns on her face and she rushed out of the room to find out about the patient.  Meanwhile, the visitor tried to peek and I stopped him.

"Sir, what relation are you to Mr. Saucisson?"
"I'm his primary care attending, his doctor."
I sighed in relief. "Oh, I see."
"I heard he was very sick."
"Yes, that's definitely true."
"I also heard he recovered, but I wasn't sure if I would find him... alive."
"I'm sorry, but he had passed a few hours ago and the family has been here to see him."
The doctor looked struck. "Oh, oh I see. I had hoped to see him one last time. I only spoke with him yesterday..."
I took a step back. He was mentally prepared now.
"May I?" He took a step forward.
"Go right ahead."

I stood at a distance, to give them some time.  He came back out presently- and thanked me for preparing him to see Mr. Saucisson as he was.  He had thought there was a recovery...Ugh.   Crisis averted for the day!

No comments:

Post a Comment