Thursday, March 24, 2011

losing it.

"what, you feel like you aren't happy?"

"no. no, that's not it. i just...i just feel like i've lost my JOY."

somewhere along the journey, i lost it. i must have ripped it off and thrown it in the hazardous materials can or washed it down the drain with tears or blood or aptly named hospital-goo that seems to peel off of me at the end of the day. regardless of the method, i'm feeling like i lost it.

i'm not good at losing things. i am most certainly good at getting lost. the losing part? notsomuch.

i delivered 4 babies today, 16 total on the Labor & Delivery ward--one of them was completely independent. my first one ever without an attending breathing down my shirt. sort of like a first kiss, i briefly tasted that sweet sensation & got red-in-the-face over what i was doing. i'll probably never forget it. but when it was done, it was done. i was all excited and used a superfulous number of exclamations in my text message shortly thereafter...but then it was done--the baby was out, the mama was clean & i moved on. i let the womb-miracle, first-breath, radiant-mama surround me & then swirl down the drain. i left that room-of-excitement, drudging in the fact that the Labor & Delivery floor was full--everyone around me basked in the miracles of new life &cute! new! babies!

yesterday, i came home from work to find jon graciously working in installing a new back door. the old ones let in a draft-something-horrible & it was time to invest in quality new boundaries to keep the outside outside. in my flurry of keys-on-the-table-dinner-wasn't-made-i-had-a-long-day-ness, i lost it. and somewhere in the midst of making 7 pans of shepherd's pie & welcoming our three overnight guests, the joy burned up in the oven.

and i've noticed, too, that over the course of the week, bitterness & unappreciation have welled up inside of me. i've avoided the phone. i've stayed off facebook. i quit smiling at strangers, they probably don't care anyway. i stopped enjoying the blogs that usually make me swell with inspiration. i pushed away my Bible. instead of listening to sermons or finding solice in silence or studying or staying put, i've ceased a method a restless wandering. i started taking longer showers and making bigger i'll get to it later piles and bins and boxes. most certainly, i lost it.

i'm not sure where. or why. or how, really. but all i know is that foosh! and its gone.

i chose to sit on my rump yesterday instead of working out. i chose to eat 9 (or 29) Whopper Easter Eggs instead of dusting. i chose to avoid deadlines & studying & looming to-do's.

and the laundry waits--jon feels like he's drowning in it. the dishes wait, feta & balsalmic dried like glue to the dinner plates from last night. the relational wells wait--dry, cracking, & abandoned because of my deliberate choosings. and then the sleeping waits--my eyes &brain & heart awake at the seemingly horrible choices i've made throughout the day.

should i have done something different? in that delivery? in that c-section? was it the right lab? the right medicine? the right evidence to treat--or not? did i say the right thing? at the right time? in the right way? to be politically correct? generally accepting? showing Christ's love & grace &humility? was i there at the right time? and am i the right person?

and the question marks swirl--tattooing my sleepy daydreams with canyons of unanswered questions.

those eight pounds?
that laundry?
the budget?
the garden. and canvas. and dust. and sheets. and gifts. and cards.

and suddenly the joy in the morning, in the hot showers & warm tea, couch snuggles & sleeping in--suddenly that JOY slips through the cracks. invisibly through my open grasp. and i realize, six months into 30-hour-hospital-call, that it is just gone.

I think the reason that the process of medical training is so stressful for people is because those who go into medicine in the first place usually try their hardest to do their best, no matter how difficult the circumstances. And it can be difficult for us when we feel like our best, for whatever reason, is not enough. More than the fatigue or the workload or the ridiculous life-and-death stress of working in the hospital, far and away the hardest part for me was feeling like my best was not enough. Of course, my efforts for the most part were "enough" (at least by most quantifiable metrics and some intangible ones), and though it never felt like enough,
I tried my best, then as I do now.
As we all do.
- Michelle Au, The Underwear Drawer (blog)

someday, the sun will come out. (tomorrow, tomorrow). the garden will be planted. the laundry will be done. the canvas will be painted. and someday, i'll look back &realize that this is all in the plan. these long days and longer nights, these feelings of lost &guilt of stolen joys. and someday, i'll snuggle on the couch and enjoy the hot tea & rosemary shortbread & rain on the windows &charts in my inbox. and i'll embrace the wrinkles & gray hairs that stress has painted lately. and maybe then, maybe in that someday, i'll realize that every ounce of me was poured into my days. and it will be okay. and it will be enough.

in the meantime, we just keep trying.

1 comment:

Dr. Army Wife said...

I think you will look back on this and feel that it was all worth it. Obviously I can't speak from experience because my intern year starts in a few months, but I trust Michelle Au. I also read that piece that she wrote and I'm planning on reading it again in the middle of next year.
Keep your chin up - it will get better!

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