A few days ago in clinic I saw the girlfriend of the first patient I intubated. He was in severe alcohol withdrawal, and the intubation was really tough and I wondered if he was going to make it. I remember feeling sick to my stomach for weeks afterwards. Before all that had happened I had told him that he needed to go to rehab or that would probably wouldn’t have another chance. But then the intubation was so difficult that I thought maybe that his chance was gone. I wrote “I hope he has another chance to live… for his wife and his young daughter.”
Incredibly, his girlfriend told me that day was his 100th day without drinking alcohol. And she quit drinking too. And she was seeing me for her pregnancy visit! They are doing great. I asked her how he did it–how he quit drinking, and she told me that she had videoed him when he was in DTs (delirium tremens), barely able to walk, shaking uncontrollably and hallucinating. He watched it and said “That’s not me. I don’t believe it… I looked like that?”
And every day he watched that video. Every time his friends or family called him to go drinking, he watched the video. When he was feeling thirsty, he watched it. And he never wanted to drink again. And now his daughter is 2 years old, and he has another baby on the way. They are thinking of buying a house together with more space.
I nearly cried a few times in clinic. For the second chance that he is making the most of, for the mercy for him and for me. For the redemption found in his story. Not only was his mere breath and life saved, and not only do we have the success that he didn’t die in that event (which was my mercy), but so much more than that–he found a completely new life, a fresh start.