Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mental Calculus

He would describe himself as sensitive.  Not as in a lack of confidence, but more like able to tune into the feelings of the people around him.  It is probably why he became a physician.  A lover of math, he tripped on the mental calculus.  How many wins were needed to make up for each loss? How many lives would transform a death.  Even Michael Jordan missed a shot occasionally.  You can't tell me that Babe Ruth didn't strike out from time to time. 

He liked to daydream about powerlessness.  It would be so much easier if medical science were impotent.  He then could measure his worth in the warmth of a smile or the weight of a hand resting on a tired shoulder.  These were things he could offer without risk, without opening himself up to heartbreaking failure. 

He often pictured his own death.  Others fantasized about being met at the pearly gates by people they knew who had passed on: parents, friends, or lost lovers.  But who would meet him?  He had known hundreds, if not thousands who died.  He touched the acrid flesh, over and over again, uncovering physical and emotional pain.

He wondered if there would be a calamity.  His supporters would surely welcome with open arms and kind heart.  But what about those who were not ready to die?  They may shake their fists and scowl because he had not been enough.  A sort of scuffle would break out and opposing forces would clash.  Who would win?

But this was all just a dream, a confused, paranoid dream.   In reality there was no battle of judgement, no balancing scale.  And this was his burden. This was the thing he carried on his shoulders from day to day, week to week. 

This was the thing that pulled him back, that propelled him forward. 

1 comment:

Jim Salwitz said...

Right at the core of what is "a physician."
Thank you,