“Every one of these patients should terrify you,” the fellow said. I thought he was just being dramatic.
Thinking back to January 2020, I recalled the whispers throughout the hospital of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, mere minutes from my home institution. Aside from my perspective as a pediatrician, I was also forced to confront my own anxieties regarding exposure to this virus as an adult living with repaired congenital heart disease.
Today, I made a two-year-old cry because I wanted to look into his eyes to rule out vision-threatening disease. The light was too bright, the lens was too close, and the attention was too much.
Softly and subtly, the rustling of the leaves quickens and a cool breeze sweeps across the town. A child rocks gently on a swing and a father stands in the bazaar bartering for the best value for vegetables for dinner. His wife is hospitalized with hemorrhagic dengue; shivering with fevers that rise and fall as do her blood counts.
They said to stop compressions. We all agreed. This baby had no life when she was born, and we had fought for twenty whole minutes with our arsenal of medicine to give her life.
My senior and I had been on night float together for a few weeks. That night, the dimmed lights of the hospital corridors spilled into the workroom which was lit only by my computer screen, but that was enough. Despite the few months that I had been there as an intern, I could describe each inch of this room with my eyes closed.
It was a busy Friday afternoon in the pediatric intensive care unit. The prior evening, he began having profuse lower gastrointestinal bleeding necessitating urgent transfer to the intensive care unit.