December 16, 2013

we have a pill for that

            “We’re still hurting a lot right now from when we failed a few days ago.  You’re not really going to do this, are you?” the three extra vertebrae in my back asked in disbelief.  They were clearly not happy with the notion of being jostled up and down repeatedly for two miles.
            “Yes.  I am going to go for a run,” as I started to slide my socks on.
            Look at yourself, man.  You’re falling apart.  Have you noticed that your toenails on BOTH big toes are probably going to fall off?  Are we going to end up like that?  We can't grow back like toenails can.  Surely you haven't forgotten that much of the first two years of med school.”
             I wiggled the toenails and sure enough, both started to lift up like the pop top on a can of beer.  Both were the result of separate bike wrecks while riding at night.  On both evenings, I had already worked out for the day but by evening, the anger and stress had come back in full force.  So I went riding on the trails at night.  I had toe pain but the anger was less.
             “Oh, well.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  If it means anything, I'll jog slower.  I already quit running sprints for y'all.”
            “We do appreciate the no sprinting thing.  But today's run.....having us get all inflamed and pissed so you can’t walk wouldn’t be a first time, either.  Do you want us to go back to the way we felt two days ago?  Is that what you want?  You couldn't even stand up straight, for Pete's sake!”

            “Not really, but what are my options?  I can suffer more emotional pain or more physical pain.  It’s that simple.  It’s nothing personal against y’all, even though y'all are congenital defects.  You’re just going to have to hurt so that I can burn off some anger.  Deal with it.”

            “Good God, man, what are you going to do to us when you start rotations again in a couple of weeks?  That's going to lead to less stress?!?!  Who the hell ever heard of med school adding less stress to a person's life?  Seriously?  What are you on?  And don’t be surprised when the nerves that live with us start flashing some serious pain signals upstairs.  We can see that they're already charging their little battery like thingies in anticipation.  You may be walking funny tonight.  Again.”

            “Yeah, I know.  And as I like to say to my patients, ‘we have a pill for that’.  I’ll make whatever deal I have to make in order to keep enduring."


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

I like this "survive at any cost" attitude, in a way. Your son and wife need you.


Isaac van Sligtenhorst said...

There is definitely a cost involved. But I will pay any cost.