“It’s too late, baby”

I love Carole King’s song “It’s too late.”  Jason thinks that my love for music from the 70s is a form of aesthetic developmental delay.  This song reminds me of one of our patients.  She was a very nice woman, who had a number of issues and she provided us with some difficulty from time to time.  However, everyone liked her, she was always nice and pleasant to us, and I am glad to have known her.  One day, a couple of years ago, late in the evening, she came in for chemotherapy after having seen the doctor, but we were unable to start an IV.  A number of nurses each tried a number of times.  She was very patient, but being stuck multiple times with needles is tiring and painful.  Despite the pain of the multiple needle pokes, she really wanted her chemotherapy, the treatment she hoped would save her life.  After many IV start attempts, we simply got too close to closing time and we had run out of veins to attack.  It had gotten too late.  Two of the nurses, Jenny and Diane, spontaneously broke into song, singing Carole King’s “It’s too late, baby.  It’s too late.”  The patient seemed pleased by the singing and it relieved a lot of the tension.  We rescheduled the patient’s treatment for the next day.  She died last year and neither of the nurses work with me anymore, but I love this song.  It reminds me of a very sweet and difficult moment where everyone was at her best and I was glad to have witnessed it.

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