shu and joe


Published on September 8, 2008

From an article by Theresa Brown in the New York Times. Ms. Brown is a staff nurse at a hospital in Pennsylvania. Below is an excerpt from an article she wrote about trying to save someone who was suddenly dying. In the hospital, these deaths are referred to as “Condition A,” the “A” standing for arrest, as in cardiac arrest.

I am 43. I came to nursing circuitously, following a brief career as an English professor. Often at work in the hospital I hear John Donne in my head:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.

But after my Condition A I find his words empty. My patient died looking like one of the flesh-eating zombies from “28 Weeks Later,” and indeed in real life, even in the world of the hospital, a death like this is unsettling.

What can one do? Go home, love your children, try not to bicker, eat well, walk in the rain, feel the sun on your face and laugh loud and often, as much as possible, and especially at yourself. Because the only antidote to death is not poetry, or drama, or miracle drugs, or a roomful of technical expertise and good intentions. The antidote to death is life.

Filed under: Everyday Life

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