Kill Sweet Desire

Pranab Chatterjee

I watched the monitors as they slowly but surely blinked and bleeped slower and slower. The heart rate was going down. The Blood pressure was plummeting. The fever was going up. The urine output was trickling to a stop. Inotropes on full blast were doing no good. Glasgow Coma Scale rating was a dismal 3/15. A 25 year old male was slowly but surely dying.

The chart said that the patient was a known HIV patient for years and was admitted with severe sepsis. A CD4 count done last week was 50ish. Not good. The patient party was represented by one old lady. Who herself  was so overcome with grief, tiredness and age that she was in need of some rest.

The chart screamed I/C (Immunocompromised). The technicians were frustrated: the ventilators would need meticulous cleaning afterwards.

No one seemed to bother that a 25 year old was dying. Someone my age. Was dying. The disease that was slowly eating him away seemed to make him immune to human affection and care. Somehow, people tip toed around him. Blood collection was a much hated task. Tracheal/oral suctioning was a risk. Everything around him seemed to be maligned by his diseases.

Multi organ failure due to septic shock as a consequence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The causes were charted out. The papers were signed. The old lady was too numbed to speak as she perfunctorily complied to our orders.

I wanted to ask if she had lunched…

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"Kill Sweet Desire" by @bongbuzz

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  1. They should come up with a “love” button too. I was working with patients with CKD for a whole semester during my masters and what you wrote felt too much like stuff I used to think in my head.

    1. Lots of people get terminally ill and die. I have a problem with people dying on me, but that’s a different issue. No one except Dr. Gregory House has issues with that!

      But sometimes, I feel enraged when the patient becomes defined by his disease and how people make preconceptions based on a diagnosis of HIV positivity about someone whose names they even do not care to remember! The point I am trying to make is that no one has the right to judge someone in a negative, derisive and from a holier-than-thou ground just because the person in question is HIV positive.

      The disrespect towards PLWHA enrages me no end. And to think we live in a developing country, in an educated society…