Wake-Up Call by Catherine A. Musemeche

Wake-Up Call by Catherine A. Musemeche

“Her death, hours later, was the conclusion to one of the worst nights of my life. I had participated in a full-blown flail—a sequence of medical maneuvers that couldn’t possibly be successful but are performed against all better judgment. I felt terrible about it—for the patient, who deserved better, and for those of us who participated. Whatever comes next for my mother, I hope she is not flogged this way with painful procedures that cannot save her.” 

The author reflects on how the medical knowledge that comes with being a surgeon often dampens the hope she has for her mother to live, as her mother is battling failing organs.The conclusion was beautiful. She explores the what-ifs and honestly admits that it could be much worse; she honestly admits that she doesn’t know what is best. There is a Chinese parable about a farmer with a son who breaks his leg but ends up not being drafted because of it, with the prevailing moral being “Who knows what is good or bad?” Who knows. 

Blood is throughout the essay, making our mortality even more apparent. I believe in the spiritual, in our current bodies being limiting, in our immortality. Reading things about flesh and death always make me feel ready to part from my body.


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