piasharn: (da Vinci Skull)
Today was a milestone of sorts, I suppose...

I watched a patient die on the table in the trauma room.

I've seen dead bodies before, but I've never actually witnessed someone pass away. It wasn't the death that bothered me so much (the patient was unconscious and undergoing CPR when s/he arrived) as the reaction of the spouse, who arrived some time later. The quiet grief, the gentle kiss on the forehead, was far more poignant than the vocal exclamations I have seen from others.

One of the trauma nurses was red-eyed and sniffing by the time we wheeled the body out. S/he put it down to lack of sleep and a long shift. Plus the fact that we've had a lot of trauma cases - some fatal - come in during the past couple of weeks. (We had three in a row earlier today. This particular case was the fourth for the day.) I pointed out to her that there was no shame in mourning the passing of another living being, whether or not s/he had known the person.

It wasn't until after I got home that I broke down.
piasharn: (Lateral C-Spine in Flexation)
At the hospital that I work at, I often refer to the eighth floor as the "haunted floor". This goes back to when I first started, and I was going up there (the Medical Imaging department is on the third floor, by the way) to do a portable x-ray with one of the students.

There are three elevators for general use, and another for employees only. We rarely use the latter since it is slow and seems to stop on random floors for no apparent reason. However, on this particular day, we got there in time to get on and go up to the eighth floor.

Shortly after we had gotten off, we heard a woman yelling something at us. Confused, we turned around. There was only one other person in the vicinity - a man, who was looking around in a bewildered fashion much as we were. Since the aforementioned student commented that that elevator was wont to stop at the eighth floor, I've started calling it the "haunted floor" as a result.

But I may have been mistaken.

It doesn't surprise me that a hospital would be haunted. After all, a lot of people die in them, although this is not often the result of the staff. (People are often dying when they are admitted, after all.) While I've never seen anything overtly supernatural, I've heard stories from other techs in every hospital I've been at. Especially from the ones who work on second or third shifts.

I had to work second shift earlier this week. Nothing was going on in the department, so when a portable order came in, the lead tech on duty came with me. Seeing that the staff-only elevator was already on the third floor, we nabbed it. "I guess we'll take the haunted elevator," she remarked as we got in.

"The 'haunted elevator?'" I inquired.

She informed me that whenever a patient died, it was this elevator that was always used to transport the body down. As a result, she always felt disturbed using it. I started to wonder if perhaps it wasn't a particular floor that was haunted, but this elevator. It made sense: it seemed to have a mind of its own, and would stop on floors even if no one had requested it to go to that floor.

I don't really know.

I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts. Perhaps I just want to believe in them, because it means that there is something beyond this life. Perhaps it's just that I have an over-active imagination.

But there's something weird about that elevator.
piasharn: (da Vinci anatomy)
Friday last was a landmark of sorts. I finally got to go down to the morgue.

See, for eight weeks of this semester, I have to rotate from my usual hospital to a different one. Lucky me, my rotation is at the same hospital which houses the county morgue. Occasionally, a tech has to go down there to x-ray a cadaver for various reasons. I've been trying to get down there for weeks. I'm morbid like that.

My reaction was different than I thought, but not because I was nauseated or faint.

Continue... )

Unsurprisingly, I've been thinking a lot about death since then. About the suddenness of it all. About the existence of a soul, an afterlife, of something beyond this, something more.

I envy religious people sometimes. Specifically, I envy the certainty that they have concerning what happens to us after we die. The peace of mind that accompanies it. I don't have that faith, and I doubt I ever will.
piasharn: (Default)
Last night, I lay in bed for some time in that state between sleeping and waking. As I was doing so, I felt a cat jump up on my bed and begin to walk around. I knew it was probably one of the other cats, but I let myself indulge in the idea that it was my cat, that she was still alive. I felt the anonymous feline walk over my legs and onto my back where it curled up. This further enforced my little daydream as my cat used to sleep there all the time, and the warm weight curled on the small of my back was comforting.

After laying there for a few minutes, it got up and made it's way to my head, where it laid down on the pillows. (Again, just as my cat always used to do.) Unable to restrain myself, I lifted my head and opened my eyes, curious as to which cat had decided to keep me company.

There was nothing there, and the door was closed, so none of the cats could have gotten into my room in the first place.

Puzzled, I finally drifted off to sleep.

In my dream, I woke up. It was morning, and I got out of bed to go upstairs. As I crossed the room, I saw my cat curled up by the door, watching me. It was as if she was still alive, and her death had been nothing more than a bad dream. I reached down to pet her, and realized as I stroked her fur that this wasn't real. That's when I really woke up.

I wonder... did her spirit really come to visit me last night? Or was it just my unconscious mind playing tricks on me? I want, desperately, to believe that it was the former, but I can never shake the fear that life is merely a fluke, nothing more than some chemical reactions within our brains, and that there is nothing more. I can never decide if I believe in the existence of souls and an afterlife because it truly exists, or because I am deluding myself to avoid the truth.

I suppose I'll find out some day... Although whatever happens, I hope I'll get to see my kitty again.
piasharn: (Default)




Pia's Kitty


Pudd Tat
1 April 1986 - 6 October 2003



My cat died yesterday morning.

I... I didn't realize it would be this painful. It's taken a lot just to get through the day without breaking down. There's this huge fucking hole right in the middle of me. I didn't just lose a pet; I lost my closest friend who has been with me since I was five years old.

Part of me still can't believe that it happened... I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning, and heard her wheezing for breath. She was flopped out on her side, coughing up foamy saliva. Terrified, I scooped her up (she was so limp... like a ragdoll) and dashed upstairs. After getting my mom up, I managed to get ahold of the vet, who told us to meet him at the clinic. When we got there, she was almost gone. Her lungs were giving out, and there was nothing we could do but put her down.

(Shit. Just writing about it has made me start crying all over again. I just can't deal with this... I'm not ready for this. Why did she have to leave me? I still need her so much...)

More rambling about my cat. )

And for those who are wondering "What the hell kind of name is 'Pudd Tat'?"... I was only five; give me a break. As to where I got the name... < Tweety Bird voice > "I tawt I taw a puddy tat! I did! I did taw a puddy tat!" < /voice >

July 2012

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