Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We all wear one.  Maybe you can't see it under our lab jacket.  But if you look closely, you'll spy the outline of a bulge on our backs.  If not physically, you'll notice the weight metaphorically.  Shoulders bend forward as if craning under a satchel of bricks.  Maneuvering becomes anything but effortless.

And we fly through our days, careening between sickness and health.  The obstacles in our path are many, and the detours are often unexpected.  Occasionally a frightening gust knocks us off course.  We swear this time we're going down.  We finger the ejection button and grab for the cord on our pack.

Yes, we all have a parachute.  The dirty secret we tell ourselves when the darkness gets too great.  The voices are always bubbling under the surface.

I can leave this place. I can leave!

The bottom of our desperate pit is lined with hope.  Physicians can do many things besides practice medicine: research, consulting, chart review.

Go ahead, pull the cord.

Yet often when we are in greatest peril, our motion is sluggish.  We spin into a nose dive as we pull up on the controls.  The ground accelerates even as we move our hands away from our packs and cover our faces.

We do not eject.  We do not save ourselves.  We do not deploy our parachutes.

Instead we crash to the ground, our bodies and souls shattered.  We pick up the pieces one by one, recreating a likeness, a shadow of what use to be.  And we return to the cockpit.



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