We're learning about G.E.R.D this week, or G.O.R.D --as it's called here thanks to the (o)esophagus. I am reading about adenocarcinoma tonight when suddenly a patient's face comes sharply into focus in my mind.
A 41 year old male who was about 7 days post-op from a partial gastrectomy due to stomach cancer.
He was brought in by his wife because he hadn't slept for 2 days due to extreme abdominal pain. He was obviously very fit before this ordeal had started but now the weight loss had sunken his large dark eyes into the sockets, his cheek bones pressed upwards under the skin. His tanned skin had changed to greyish.
He never made a sound while I removed the dressings on his abdomen, which was rigid with pain. He just stared at me. Both of them were so afraid, it was unsettling. When you see fear like that you never forget it.
I am again reminded that these diseases don't only exist on histology slides in my Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease textbook.