I was in clinic today, and a woman and her daughter came in. The patient was about 60 or so, and the daughter was likely upper 30s. The woman had been diagnosed with a fungal infection of her sinuses and then her eye (zygomycetes, for any doctors reading this). The infection was so severe that the only way to treat it was to give anti-fungal medications and to remove her eye. Enucleation.
Obviously, that's a very severe and disfiguring treatment, and she was initially resistant. However, it was enucleation or risk dying from the spread of the infection.
I saw her today, and she is doing really well. She has finished her IV treatment and has moved on to oral therapy. I removed her bandages with the attending, and the eye socket looks really clean. There's not a trace of infection. Someone has done a great job keeping this wound clean. I left the room to take care of some paperwork for them. The daughter had brought wound care supplies to repack the eye socket.
When I returned, the daughter had gloves on and was pushing gauze into the socket, which is a lot larger than you might think. As she is finishing, I tell her that she has done a great job keeping the eye clean and that she's very good with wound care. She continues her packing, and gives a little smile. Her English is pretty good. She says that the first time, when the nurses were teaching her how to do it, she was shaking and very scared. "But..." she shrugged, as if to say, what can you do?
I said, "You're right. It's your mom, and you did a great job stepping in to take care of her." She got tears in her eyes, and she nodded. "It's my mom..." People occasionally surprise me with their deep love and dedication. This was definitely one of those times.