Saturday, December 13, 2008

the mirror.

it is saturday. 10am. i'm home alone--jon has staff duty today (i.e., he has to work for 24 hours this weekend). and although i miss having him here (our down-time together is a rarity), i'm enjoying the quiet at home. the laundry is folded (& yet to be put away). the house is clean, albeit for our bedroom floor which magically grows clothes. cookies are baked. presents are wrapped. the tv is off. and all i can hear is the buzz of the heat blasting through the vents above the doorway to the office.

a bit of a change from the past few weeks, yes?

needless to say, i've been challenged more during the past three weeks than i have in a long time, maybe in forever. my emotions ran high & are just returning to ground-level with the quiet (& the husband) that surrounds me.

in an odd way, my ER rotation highlighted things in my own life that i haven't noticed prior or perhaps, chosen to overlook. life. death. suffering. disease. worried parents & patients & loved ones. tradgedy. joy. relief. burnout. i'd leave the hospital each day emotionally drained. because i connected with those patients. i cried when the wives cried. i was mad when the patients were mad. and even moreso i was frustrated with the often overly pathetic "cries for help". and each day when i got back to my empty apartment there was silence, which made me think harder & longer about each one of their cases. and there was a mirror that i'd have to face each morning, inevitably questioning me about how i'd handle the situation if i were in their shoes.

most mornings i didn't have answers. and the truth is that i still don't.

it's a bit counterintitive, really. i've been fed answers the past two years. certainly not without studying & stress & hours of dedication. but the goal of the past two years has been to find the answers. to look in the mirror and be confident that i know the answers. my brain has been trained. but now that i'm faced with no answers, lack of answers, non-existent answers, and ENDLESS QUESTIONS. i'm confused, distraught, emotionally torn. and because there are no easy answers, & many times no answers at all, i'm left searching.

i'm still searching. something tells me i'll be searching for awhile...

and yet again, in an odd way i'm relieved by my searching. because it reminds me that i'm connecting. that i haven't lost it--that i haven't tucked my emotions in the pocket of my white coat, that i haven't lost the ability to connect with people. i'm humbly proud of my searching. because it is evidence that i haven't unconsciously jumped on the bandwagon of medical thinking that science is god, that my knowledge trumps others' sufferings, and that my patients are subjects to be studied instead of people to learn from.

We have to ask ourselves whether medicine
is to remain a humanitarian and respected profession
or a new but depersonalized science of
prolonging life rather than diminishing human suffering.
--Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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