The thick skin I’ve built up for more than 20 years seems stripped away. Where did the strong, independent, fierce woman go? She got lost in the hierarchy, in the desire to please, to show that she knows something, to not be the annoying little med student. Make an ass out of myself, it’s ok, learn, go, check labs, make and ass out of myself again. Be aggressive, shut up, ask for help, juggle, juggle more. Determined to do better, put that skin back on, move forward, work harder.
Caught up in stereotypes, I admit to my friends, embarrassed. Writing a note no one will read, trying to find the team, only once does the team try to find me. Talking to a patient who doesn’t know who he is, wanting to sit with him a while. These things I have learned for sure: 1) hospitals are terrifying places where infections lurk on the hands of a busy resident, and 2) getting old means growing feeble of body or mind, sometimes both – why waste my youth watching my future a thousand times over? That, perhaps, is why public health calls to me – delay the inevitable for others and by doing so I gain a little more time for myself? Can I learn myself into immortality? Would I want to?
Beating myself up daily, hourly, it all depends on the kindness of the nurses in the morning. Coming home to an empty apartment, too tired to cook, all the vegetables rot. Too tired to miss the one I lost. Curl up with a glass of wine and a friend to debrief. Sleep. Do it again.