"See? Don't you remember what we said?" my extra vertebrae told me.
"Yes, I remember."
"Well, maybe you didn't learn the lessen so we're going to repeat it to you:
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."
My congenital defects were right. I pulled off both toenails. And I was walking funny after that run. Lest I be too stupid to accept my limitations, it's been my last run since then. My back just can't handle it, especially since I've started rotations back up. Pediatrics, no less.
"Cough, cough. You forgot to mention that you threw out your back emptying the dishwasher and had to miss a day of work during your first week."
"Yes, yes, I hear you."
And what is it that I hear? I'm not entirely sure. The stress of seeing babies and kids is pure torture. There are loving parents with perfectly healthy kids. I will admit it. I am jealous as hell of them. They have a healthy kid and I don't. Furthermore, I still may lose mine to his disease someday out of the blue. The sword of Damocles hangs over me every hour of every day. To drive that point home, a friend of the family lost their 23 year old daughter to suicide just a few days before Christmas. She suffered from bipolar disease. I know the stats and the stories all too damned well.
And then there are abused and neglected kids who's parents don't give a rat's ass about their kids. Hell, probably a fourth of our admits have been what are called "social admits", meaning the kid doesn't medically need to still be in the hospital after we tidy them up but they sure as hell can't go home. So we keep them until social work and CPS get involved. And all the time, my gut is wrenching inside for the brokenness of this kid's life, the shattered aspect of the entire family; how the sins of the father are visited upon the son to the third and fourth generation. They start out with three strikes against them and the cycle goes on endlessly with no hope of breaking it. And still I will be selfish and think my son had every advantage and still is no longer himself. So it goes. To some questions, there are no answers.
So I tell my vertebrae, "I gave up sprinting. I gave up jogging. But I'm not giving up lifting weights," as I head to my garage to burn off the anger.