I’m in doctors offices frequently for translation purposes. Very often I find myself the last allowed with a patient about to undergo surgery until anesthesia takes full effect, and the first allowed in surgical recovery, as they slowly make it back to reality.
I find it to be a very intimate experience.
Each and every time, I sign confidentiality agreements that prevent me from disclosing anything I witness spoken between doctors and patients, or spoken by patients in these intimate moments as they make it back to reality after surgery, or as they make it back FROM reality!
Their first words, the first thing on their minds in these moments while they are going back and forth between the place they were at and our shared world always strike me profoundly.
Sometimes that first thing that comes to their mind can make me laugh out loud. There have been times when I cried my heart out the whole way home because of something they shared.
Nothing I sign prevents me from sharing what they say in those moments with the patients themselves. But I never have. Because things start to happen fast and when they are fully awake, and once family members are allowed in, the confidentiality agreements I sign do not allow me to discuss anything with the patients outside the translation limited to communications between patients and family members on one end, and doctors or nurses on the other.
But, THIS gentleman…
62 years young,
Married for 35 years,
Daughter, 33, divorced with two sons, lives with him and his wife.
Son, 31, married, cab driver, 4 sons under age 6.
Son,29, cab driver, expecting first child anytime now.
Son, 26, business minded, sharp, focused.
Son, 19, first year of college, he runs,the whole show, Kind, mellow, highly productive, care taker. You don’t have to say a word. If it needs to be done, you can count on him doing it.
He is a cancer survivor.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and larynx box cancer two years ago.
Clear from cancer for a year now.
But, earlier this week, translating for him for a yearly check up, we found out he has two serious cancerous growths in his right lung.
The team of three doctors discussed options with him, removal of the lung or more Chemo and radiation.
I would have gone for removal of the right lung, no question about it!
He went for further chemo and radiation.
On my way out, after I saw that he was far ahead of me.
I whispered to one of the doctors
“we are just buying time, aren’t we?
He nodded “Yes”
I was alone with this gentleman waiting for anesthesia to take full effect before three major surgeries 2 summers ago.
His last words/thoughts/feelings right before each procedure left me shaking.
I never discussed it with him.
Now, that there isn’t much time left,
Do I tell him?
My heart is telling me he should know.
My mind is not sure what to do.
If that was what my subconscious had to say when I’m under anesthesia, I would want to know.
It might put a smile on his face that I haven’t seen in all the time I’ve known him.
The wife too, every woman’s desire.
The question is,
Do I tell him?
First bloom this season from my Red Habiscus on kitchen window.
Spring is here.