Tuesday, October 14, 2014
It's not just the hospital, but the patients of course. Being a physician is just like any other human being, just magnified. You start with a basic unadorned body of armor. Certain things penetrate: the first cry of a baby as he leaves the womb. Others splatter and stain but you don't dare let them in: the swoosh of blood as it spurts out of a ruptured a-v fistula, the screams of fear, and the ever-present sobs of the mourning. The outsides may become disorderly and unkempt, but the insides remain pristine. Or so you think.
Patients come and go. They either die or move away or decide they no longer want to receive care from you. Hospitals open and close. You move your office. There is much transience. The faces fade and the circumstances become hazy. But the detritus remains. You may forget the specifics but your exterior has been marred. Your armor adorned.
Until the day you realize that you never really had any armor in the first place. Just porous skin. Now faded and bruised, you carry these marks with you. That which you relied on for protection has inevitably become a sieve. Your insides are now also untidy.
And you may find yourself walking through the mall on occasional Saturday mornings with your family. Your children weaving through the isles and ducking under wayward clothes. Your wife leafing through the discount racks in the corner. Your phone hangs from your ear as you answer yet another phone call. You stop mid orders to look at yourself in a full length mirror. And you wonder if the reflection is really you anymore or some stranger.
The pain only lasts for a moment, and then you turn your attention back to the phone and answer-
whatever pressing question is being posed to you.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 4:07 PM