I've wrestled with this before. Don't play doctor. Be the brother, the son, the dad, the whatever but don't be the doctor. In a more perfect world, I could gladly cast off that role. But when faced with these notions of "if things went better..." I like to quote from Grumpy Old Men, "you can wish in one hand and shit in the other. Let me know which one fills up first."
And so I keep justifying it to myself, keep trying to make it right, keep damning that I am put into this role, time and time again.
I could not save my brother but he did die in far, far less pain because I was not just a brother. Given my dad's situation, he may have very well died (it's a long story) if I had just been just a son. And my son? The story is still being written but my wife recognizes that he likely would have completed suicide if I had been just a dad. It's a foregone conclusion in her mind. Despite all this, a fresh passage in the pages of my son's story are troubling me.
My son needed a blood draw. At least I thought he needed a blood draw and the doctor agreed but wanted a fasted one. As we entered the LabCorp office, I double checked the orders. A few tests were missing. But the doctor did want these tests run. I tried calling the doctor. No luck. My son starts to notice my hesitation. My conflict. He asks me, "what's wrong," sounding nervous as his paranoia is never far from the surface.
"There are some tests left off that need to be run," I reply.
"Just check them off then. You're a doctor," he replies laconically. Issue settled in his mind. But not mine.
I've been told, "don't be his doctor. Be his dad." And besides, it's not my signature at the bottom of these orders. But if I don't "play doctor" as I have done hundreds of times in the past, my son will get inferior care. So I check off the boxes. The correct ones as I do not guess. I know. I relay a message to the doctor letting them know what I did. "No problem" was the reply.
In all honesty, compared to all the other doctor things I've done with my family, this is really was "no problem". A clerical error, really. But I've been told so many, many, many times to create a chasm between being the loved one and the doctor. And this small episode proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. On some level, I am angry at the people who tell me to just be the loved one. But on a deeper level, I am furious at the universe, at God, at the situations that keep putting me in this role and forcing a choice. Once, it happens. Twice, and at the same time, well that's getting to be a bit much. But three times? In three years? Is there any mercy or grace in this world at all? Or, am I being punished as I wait for the fourth, or even fifth shoe to drop? Am I cursed to play Atlas the rest of my life?