During my moonlighting today, one of my patients was a Cambodian refugee. I'm not sure when he came to the US and under what circumstances. He tried to commit suicide some time back, but it didn't work. He's terribly nice, and he currently has an infection that he'll recover from. I've seen him once before, actually, several months ago. I don't remember why.
As I sat with his chart, I didn't really think about his infectious issues. Instead, I kept wondering what he saw in Cambodia. What horrors did he experience? What was is like right before he came to the US? Did he come here first and then seek asylum, or did he try to get it prior to leaving his homeland? Was that his family that just walked out of his room? Did they come with him? Was he scared when he arrived here? Did he fear deportation? What kind of adjustment period did he go through? What lead him to eventually try to kill himself? Is he glad he failed?
So many questions for this soft spoken man. None of them relevant to his current infection, so none of them were asked. I mostly hoped and prayed that he was glad to be alive, and that whatever atrocious acts he saw and experienced were outweighed by the love he gets from his family and friends.
Correction: in my state of overwhelming gratitude (and in the confusion of too many initials) I left out an amazing friend. JS: Where to start! From an random roommate a true lifesaver. Thank you for your support.