Sunday, April 23, 2006

Earth Day

In honor of my lingering cold and Earth Day, I am pleased to announce the passage of a car-free weekend. While acknowledging the fact that even the simple act of turning on an electric light ultimately burns fossil fuels, spending several days without using a car can be a very positive experience for many reasons, be they ecological or psychological.

The clouds and rain have made it easier to be ensconced at home. There has been no sun to needle me and interrupt my springtime napping. Sparkey the dog, now on hospice care, receives his 500 cc's of subcutaneous Lactated Ringer's Solution every morning, and he has actually had somewhat of a bounce back from his debilitated state following his discharge from the hospital last Tuesday. His sister Tina is enjoying the tasty meat we vegetarians are cooking for him to build up his wasting muscle mass, although I am gravely concerned about his kidneys' ability to process so much protein. That said, he won't eat any carbohydrates, per se (except for Ritz Crackers!) so animal protein is really our only option at this point. Failing kidneys or no, the old guy has to eat.

Tomorrow I hope to learn the cause of death of my patient who died unexpectedly on Friday morning. I am also anxious to learn the status of another patient who is home with hospice care and now verbalizing a desire to die. He has not yet been told that he has the right to refuse fluids and nutrition, but he will need to be informed soon so that he has all of his options open to him. Another patient is planning to return to Puerto Rico in June so that he can die peacefully with his family, and I'm realizing that I will sorely miss him and the opportunity to be with him in those final days.

Spring is filled with endings, beginnings, and continuations, and the lesson seems to be that I must unconditionally embrace them all.
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