“The Doctors are going to be so angry”

I heard this heartbreaking statement recently, delivered between sobs, from a patient who was faced with possibly being without her antirejection medication. “They don’t just hand out livers,” she said.

In a very gentle voice that was filled with conviction, I told her “let’s not worry about what the doctors feel. Let’s worry about how YOU feel. What’s important here is your health, and your safety. I want to make sure you get the medication you need and one way or the other I’m going to do it.”

I wanted to cry. It was her life at stake and she was only thinking of her doctors’ opinions. It reminded me of the horrific fire that happened in Bellingham more than a decade ago, where two boys sparked an inferno by unknowingly lighting fireworks when there had been a fuel spill. One boy, in the intensive care unit and covered in burns, didn’t care about himself. He only wanted to know that his mom wouldn’t be mad.

When do the opinions of others become more important than our own safety and well being?

My own story had a happy ending, by the way. The patient got her medication, and I stayed on the line till it was confirmed that she’d gotten her next month’s supply and could pick it up today.

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