Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Minor Trauma

My daughter is crying uncontrollably. One hand is pressing her head as the other gestures wildly. Through angry sobs she attempts to articulate her pain.

My head!

I try to hold her close, but she pushes away. I settle for clinging to her hand. Nothing irks a parent more then listening to his child shriek in pain. I can feel the bile rise in my chest as I split in half. The emotional parent wants to rush to the phone and call an ambulance. The objective clinician sees a child who is upset, but shows no signs of real distress.


I've seen children die. I have watched the stillness that accompanies mortality. I will never forget the cat scan with the big sphere of blood entombed by such a small skull. I remember taking slow steps down the long hallway to meet the family in the crisis room.

I am not the same person I was before I started medical school. My eyes have been torn open and forced to watch the cruelty of human existence. The marks have left stains on my soul in much the same way the spatter has marked my lab coats.

I am broken.

I am empty.

I am less than when I started.

Yet I have been placed on this earth to protect these children. My love and knowledge must be enough to shield them from the abyss.


Thirty minutes later my daughter is calm. After wiping away her tears, we begin the real work of talking about what upset her. She doesn't have a brain bleed, or meningitis, or an aneurysm. She is simply a victim of minor bullying at school.

After she falls soundly asleep, I tip toe out of the room. She will recover from these minor traumas.

The better question, I guess, is will I?

1 comment:

maureen said...

Recovering from the minor traumas will prepare you for coping with your children's teenage years!
I look forward to reading your blog everyday. You are such a caring and compassionate man.