“I want everything done. Please, Dr. Rousseau, do everything. We have two children–they can’t be without their father. Do you understand? Do what it takes to keep him alive!”
Angie, a petite woman with long blonde hair, fixes me with piercing blue eyes. Her husband, Joe, fifty-two, has scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. In its most devastating form, it hardens the skin and destroys the kidneys, heart and lungs.
Joe is dying of sepsis and multi-organ failure in my hospital’s intensive-care unit.
“Please, do whatever it takes to keep him alive,” Angie pleads.
Suddenly, I am thrust into the depths of grief. Not hers, mine. It happens just like that–no warning, no nothing, just a painful inner quivering and the trickle of tears.
“I want everything done,” Angie repeats. Then she stops and stares at me. Her eyes look down at the table, then up at me again.
“Are you okay?” she asks.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“I didn’t mean to make you cry,” she says softly.
“You didn’t. It’s okay. But let’s talk about your husband.”
“What’s the matter?” she asks.
Suddenly it’s I …
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