He was 18. He was a strong, muscular young man, who had his whole life in front of him. He developed a fever, and a few days later his eyes turned yellow and they brought him to the hospital.
I saw him the day after he was admitted, his skin was very warm with a fever, his eyes were bright yellow and he was so sick that he was not able to talk, eat or drink. I looked at his labs and found that his liver and kidney were not working as they should. I knew his prognosis was bad, I was worried he wasn't going to make it through this illness. After finishing examining him, I looked up at his mom, who was very lovingly caring for him, trying to keep his fever down with cool sponges, putting a little water up to his mouth to wet his lips. His mom was standing next to him, holding his hand and anxiously waiting for me to tell her good news, unfortunately, I didn't have much to share.
Hepatorenal syndrome has a very high mortality rate. I was hoping that his youth would spare him, that his kidneys would start working soon with the IV fluid and the antibiotics we were giving him, but I had a lot of doubts. I shared, with as much hope as I thought was appropriate, that he was very very sick and may pass away. She seemed to understand and so we prayed and I hoped that the medicines would work.
Each day, he seemed to get worse and the chances of recovery were fading. His mom was joined by his brother and father at his bedside, all lovingly caring for this young man. I adjusted his meds each day, trying to give him the best chance at recovery and each day praying for him to get better. Finally, he one morning, he woke up.
I was amazed as I was able to talk to him and he was answering my questions. The hope that had faded, was returning, he just might make it. I left that day, sharing the hope I had with his family, convinced he was going to be okay.
The next day, his condition deteriorated again, he was more short of breath, he wasn't talking and the hope that had resurfaced the day before, was now gone. He was going to die. I did my best to try and help the family understand and tried some medicine adjustments to see if it would help, but a few hours later he passed and loud crying was heard as the family grieved.
As I thought back to the day before, I was thankful for the gift the family received of having him back for a short period of time. A time to talk, to say things you might not be able to say again, to recall memories and to say goodbye. Not everyone gets that window of time, many are taken from this Earth without warning, without chances to say goodbye. The windows of time are not for me to give or determine their length, I am just thankful this family got one and hope they remember it in the days ahead.