She was septic.
Recovering from major surgery and a cardiac arrest earlier this year, she was hypotensive, respiratory rate in the upper 30s, oxygen sat in the 80s. COPD, bilateral effusions, altered mental status.
As I leaned over her to take a temperature, I could hear her whispering about how tired she was.
It didn't take long for her sats to drop into the 60s, buying her a tube and a ventilator. Her daughter watched from across the hall, crying silently.
There wasn't much I could do for the patient, though someday I hope to be the one intubating and starting the central line. For her daughter, though, I was able to find a chair, a glass of water, and a phone for her to call family while trying to explain what was happening.
It wasn't much, but as she grabbed my hand and thanked me, it felt like enough.