Monday, February 18, 2013


I'm flawed.  Deeply flawed.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that in the la la land of blogging where everything is clean and tidy.  I'm a representation of myself.  It's much more pleasing to turn towards the unsplintered side when the camera is on.  Best to avoids the cracks.

Patient care can also be like this.  The surly octogenarian squints at me through beady eyes as she shifts in her seat.  The remnants of chewing tobacco spit out around her over sized cheeks while talking. She is gruff.  Her belly hangs over her waist supported by small spindly legs.  Her language is thick and colorful.  Only the most superficial would mistake her for a dolt.  Her wealth, gained and lost many times, the symbol of a savvy forward thinker.  She unloads into a cup and smiles in my direction.

You're my mentor.

I get her meaning.  She is thankful that I made the diagnosis that the emergency room physician missed.  A few days of steroids and her lungs are better than ever.  It wasn't the first time the aged, beaten body had unexpectedly bounced back.  In a short few years there had been hospital stays and nursing homes, emergency visits and family meetings. I had been there every time.

And I wonder what she will do after I leave.  Not exactly uncomfortable, I am unable to stay too long in a position that I know is unjust.  I will sacrifice my gift to stand up for a principal.  Whether my intention or not, I will live and die for an ideal.  That, I think, is my path.  My awkward, flawed path.

But there are times that transcend the humanness: the seconds where the exhaustion of exercise gives way to one more burst of activity, the illuminesence of my children's eyes as they start dancing when my wife clicks the radio on our IPAD, or the rush I get when making a difficult diagnosis. 

For moments the wrinkles and frown lines disappear.  And I am perfect. Fleeting. Broken.  Full of myself.

But perfect.


Anonymous said...

You are going to be very upset. Just like your daughter was. You are going to be crying ...I surprised myself after leaving a job where the patients were mine alone. I was exhilarated for about 2 weeks to have left that horrible employer. It was at the 2 week point that I crashed *sigh* and cried big tears if I thought about my cases.


Gwen said...

I envy you and being able to stand for your principles. It will be a hard road to follow.