Without warning , the patient leans forward slightly in her bed . With her eyes still closed , she spews green and black bile out of her mouth, splattering her hospital gown and hair. She falls back against her bed . Her sister grabs tissues off a table in the room and begins wiping around the patient’s mouth. My mouth opens and won’t close . My heart is galloping. I feel like I just witnessed an exorcism.
“Should I call someone?” Like a priest. I have no idea what just happened, but it looked bad .
“No, no.” Dr . Brown calmly waves me off . “It’s a reflex . She has done that frequently now for the last month and a half .”
I can’t believe it . She’s been like this for a month and a half ?
“It’s horrible to see, I know,” the sister says , now tearful. She caresses the woman’s forehead with her hand. “But I just can’t pull the plug. Not now. I don’t think she’d want that. That’s not what she wanted, and I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.”
There are so many machines that can keep people alive indefinitely. The thought terrifies me . Everyone’s narcissistic , that’s the problem. That’s why death isn’t as naturally accepted as being born. I want to bolt out of the hospital and drink, but I know I can’t. I want to be a doctor, but I question whether I can stand all the physical ugliness of it .
-Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair