He lay in a hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit, repeatedly pressing his PCA button even though he knew he would only get one shot of dilaudid until the preset time had elapsed. His legs (what was left of his legs) throbbed with intense pain which he rated as a 10/10, and he always wanted to know when his next dose of Percocet would be. Fortunately, his nurse tonight brought him the medication half an hour early. He loved drifting off to sleep to escape the pain, but he also hated it, because he knew that when he woke up he would be in excruciating pain once again and would have to start all over to bring the pain back under control, since he was not able to press his PCA button while he slept.
He clenched his teeth as another jolt of pain shot up his legs and glared daggers at his nurse who apologized for bumping the bed. Again. For the forth time tonight. When she left the room, he poured another packet of splenda into his applesauce and again turned his eyes towards the TV. His legs were covered in blankets, but it was still painful to look at them. Those two days trapped in his car with the blizzard raging outside had been long and miserable, and he probably would have died had he not had any blankets to keep him warm.
His eyes drifted of their own volition to the white blanket that covered his legs, and he could see through that pile of snow to the pair of stubs where his feet should have been, now covered in clean dressings. Those two days had been so cold, turning his feet blue and then black, the severe frostbite necessitating amputation. He was only thirty-nine, and he felt like he had not only lost his feet but a significant part of his future as well.
This blizzard followed me as I drove to Minnesota for the holiday, completely blanketing Missouri and Iowa that night. I feel incredibly lucky to have missed the storm. I returned home after Christmas vacation, my heart happy and the skies and roads just as clear as when I had left. But I found that others had not been so lucky, and as my patient told me his tale of woe, I felt incredibly grateful for God’s protection over me. We often don’t realize how fragile our lives are or respect nature like we should.