Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Rise And Fall Of Consequence

She hobbled into my exam room, pausing half way to lean on the walker and take a deep breath.  A year to the day, we had placed her husband in hospice.  He died shortly there after.  Seven decades of marriage over in the shuddering of a heart beat.  She now roamed the empty halls of her home.  She kept active with cooking and cleaning, chasing after her adult grandchildren, and other assorted hobbies.  It wasn't that she was unhappy, she was grieving.

The exam room was thick with the memory of what had been.  They always came to their appointments together.  I made pleasant conversation as we released ourselves to the puppeteer of familiarity.  She lifted the back of her shirt without being asked and took deep breaths without cue. 

We talked about her kids.  Her face lit up and choked back the tears of sorrow.  She was in her nineties.  At the end of the appointment I discussed having her return in a few months.  Her eyes sparkled as she answered.

If I'm still here!

I almost laughed in answer.

You probably will be.

The irony of being young

We spend every moment trying to prolong the minutes, wishing to turn back the calender.  But for her, minutes were hours, hours days, and days like millenia.  She was counting the moments till returning to her beloved.  And although their time apart will pale in comparison to the seventy some odd years together, she can't wait for it to be over.

And it made me think how small my thoughts and fears are: whether my next patient will be on time, if I do a good job and make a successful living, or if anyone reads this blog.  The brain busies itself with countless worries that raise the blood pressure. 

Maybe none of it matters.

Maybe we are all just specks, mere flecks in the vast universe, waiting for the next indifferent gust of wind to blow us asunder.

1 comment:

Doc Nieder said...

Your blog consistently reproduces the days of a Internist or Family Doctor. Thanks. So. Much!