Saddest thing I’ve seen in a while

Code 3 for stroke.

An elderly man is supine on a bed. His family is there, and they’re the historians since the man is baseline non-verbal but clearly has as good an understanding of his surroundings as anyone. They say they called because he was “weak” and unable to sit up.

It’s quickly obvious that he isn’t moving his right arm or right leg.

“Does he usually move his right arm and leg?”




“So when did he stop moving that side?”

“Yesterday morning.”

I don’t even bother asking why they didn’t call 20 hours earlier. It’s not like their answer, in the unlikely event that it isn’t¬†“I don’t know,” regarding this at-one-point-potentially-reversible devastating disability is going to make anyone happy anyway.

One by one, I ask him to move each extremity. When we get to his right leg, everything appears motionless as he tries and fails, and when he realizes this, he then lifts his right leg off the bed with his left foot.

It is almost surreal.  Definitely poignant.

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