I have had the misfortune of seeing too many people die in the ICU. Some taken by illnesses which were unexpected, while others I could see approaching their end of days months in advance. I consider myself a competent physician but its a losing battle with Mother Nature as all I am trained to do is pump chemicals into a dying vessel, powerless and ignorant of ways to feed the soul.
Unless I face my mortality, how can I ever begin to understand the needs of the people under my care. Yes 'people' and not 'patients'; I am often astonished with myself how differently I view my patient after seeing a photo of their pre-ICU lives. Its hard to understand it, but medical professionals tend to remember people based on their diseases, clinical condition and image of a sickly body laying in bed. In the darkness of the ICU, how do we bring light and celebration to people? Not only for the person laying in bed, but also for the care team and family members.
I envision an audiovisual kaleidoscope projected on the ceiling of the ICU. A combination of pictures from social media, video uploads and personal messages from loved ones feeding the mind and soul. These pictorial projection can be accompanied by the patients' favorite tunes heard through earphones, to help drown out the monotony and beeps of the ICU. In the not to distant future, virtual and augmented reality experiences can be blended in to help the patient relive experiences with their loved ones.
If the chemicals I prescribe can only do so much, then let the nourished soul heal your mind and body. Goodbye.