I met you on the worst day of your life. You will always remember the day. December 28, 2015. I walked into your patient room, I shook your hand, I told you who I was, and you told me your story. You told me why we were meeting that day. You told me that you were pregnant, 7 weeks along. You started bleeding that morning. But you didn’t have any pain. You looked anxious, but hopeful. You had your game face on. I told you what we were going to do. Some blood work. An ultrasound. These would be a long three hours for you to wait while fearing the worst and hoping for the best. To me, it was another day at work.
I didn’t know your whole story. I knew the man in the room was your husband. I could tell he was most worried about you. I could tell that he shared in your dreams. I didn’t want to pry. I let you tell me what you wanted to tell me.
Three hours passed. To me, it was a quick, fast-paced three hours. To you, it was the longest wait. You were trying to hang on to your patience. Why was this taking so long?
And then I got the results. And it was what you had been fearing. You were no longer pregnant. It was a jab to my heart. I sat at my desk and looked at the results. I paused. My shoulders slightly slumped, and I took a deep breath and walked to your room. I knocked. I sat down. And I told you the news.
It was your worst nightmare. It has been your greatest daydream to have a baby. You stared at me, hanging onto my every word. Maybe hoping I had made some type of mistake. Maybe waiting to hear what was to come next. Maybe to comprehend every bit of what was going on. Maybe to distract yourself from your heartache.
I didn’t know your whole story. I told you what I knew, and then I sat in silence. I waited. Your husband said, “We’ve been trying for five years. This was our last embryo.” You didn’t take your eyes off of me, you reflexively said, “but it’s okay.” Because you had said it before, and it was an easy way to fill the silence. But it truly wasn’t okay to you. This was your last embryo. That slight jab in my heart now felt like daggers. I wish I could help. I so wish I could help. I wish you had cut your finger instead and I could stitch it up. I wish you had broken your leg so I could put it in a cast.
But this. This was it. This was the end of your dream to become pregnant. Maybe down the line, it truly would be okay. Maybe you would decide to adopt and never look back. Maybe you would decide to travel the world and live an unexpected, but still wonderful life. Maybe you wouldn’t.
All I know, is that at that moment, you were devastated. I met you, and it was the worst day of your life. It hit me: everyday, I am meeting people for the first time on their worst days. I wish it wasn’t that way.
It was another day at work, and I wouldn’t remember the date, but you would. As I processed the events of my day on my drive home, I felt that aching heaviness that hovers over me in these dark moments. I vowed to remember this date with you. For you. For all my patients on the worst day of their lives. December 28, 2015. I’ll remember this date. I wish I could do more.
2 thoughts on “December 28, 2015”
so, so good. gah, i’m in awe at your storytelling! and your empathy for you patients! i hope if i’m ever in the ER, i am blessed with a physician like you!
I’m a little late on the reply, but thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts with me. Thank you for reading!!!