Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Will Come To The Water

When I was young, I stumbled up the mountain in search of knowledge. Years later, I descended to the water when knowing no longer quenched my thirst.

I took the news poorly even though I barely knew the woman. We had talked on the phone a few times, over the years, regarding shared patients. I heard that she loved to swim.

They found her car parked in the lot adjacent to the beach. It was rumored that she was far too strong a swimmer for this to be an accident. But later there were whispers that she swallowed a bevy of pills before striding confidently into the waves that early morning. They fished her body out of the water hours later.

And I wondered about this lonely profession that we share. I have said multiple times that physicians are like islands floating in the vast sea. We may interact with others from time to time, but we are mostly on our own. There is no one with us in the middle of the night as we answer persistent phone calls. We carry the weight of the consequences of these decisions largely in solitary.

I heard that she was embroiled in a law suit, someone mentioned a federal investigation into illegally purchasing chemotherapeutic agents to offer to her patients at a discount. I highly doubt most of it.

I imagine that she was enamored with the water. We return our dead to the land for the most part, but maybe burial at sea is more appropriate. Our bodies are water after all. Her plasma mixing with the unimaginable vastness, maybe she no longer felt alone.

I kind of wish they had left her body where they found it.

As sad as I am by her passing, she made her own decision. I continue to mourn, however, for the rest of us. The pressure of practicing medicine is enough, dealing with the rules and regulations is becoming unbearable. And we are all still stuck in our sad, broken silos.

In a world of loneliness, we still haven't found a way to wither these tumultuous seas together.

I am sorry that I didn't get the chance to know her better,

I hope she found the peace that she was looking for.


Anonymous said...

We need to come together. The AMA is not doing it. We have Social Media--#Whatif--Could we use it to bind together? Stop the craziness in our professional lives? I wonder if we had a tweetchat about that if people would come--patients and doctors both?

Unknown said...

In response to this and to the poster, I would come. I am one of those who take the time to ask, who are the bosses of my good docs, and how can I contact them in the most impacting way to say, these docs made a difference, thank you.

My other question is: where is the support for docs that is supposed to come from some of these hospitals? There are supposedly options for docs at hospitals to work things out with. Or is that just a lot of bunk so they can get rid of you if they want?

APRN said...

Sad. Touching.

I wonder if there is something in the way doctors are trained that instills a kind of fiercely independent reluctance to show vulnerability to their colleagues. (As an NP I come from a different training mentality that also has its negative impacts, but not this one.) If there could be a closed tweet chat, or maybe closed forum, would docs use it? If you build it, will they come?

I am very sorry for the loss of your colleague. Suicide lives the living with so many questions.