It was a blur, this last month. A feeling of something important moving from inwards to outwards. A house with multiple rooms, each room appropriated for its own feelings and thoughts. Depersonalization. From the moment the alarm goes off until I stepped into the clinic, one part of me was being turned off, compartmentalized, while another turned on. Then, the reverse would occur at the end of the day. There must be some way to integrate these rooms, or at least connect them with corridors. There is only so long one can function as a whole when functioning as separate parts.
At the end of the month, I am left with a glowing evaluation and it means absolutely nothing to me. When questioning the attending, I was strongly advised by the assistant to preface it with, "We were taught xyx...."
My response, "Bullshit. I'm too old and have seen too much to play that nonsense. I'm not some 20 something kid still wet behind their ears."
With each passing day, I care less and less what others may or may not think of me. I am not here to impress upon anyone some false notion of what I am or to stroke someone's ego. What matters most to me of the past month were the words that did not go into the evaluation. The attending told me, "unfortunately, you have a level of empathy with patients that very few will ever have."
With the exception of that first word, I have been told this multiple times by multiple attendings, family members, colleagues, and even therapists. Others have called it a gift. I despise that with every fiber of my being. I want to strike back with physical force at those who dare call such pain a gift. Without hesitation I would trade all my wounds to be a mediocre doctor and have those I love back. But this attending added that one word. Unfortunately. It allowed for all of the pain and suffering to be honored while allowing something soulful to emerge. One does not take away the other. Unfortunately. All the pain and agony of my brother's death. Unfortunately. Those decisions I made at 3 am with no one else to ask. Unfortunately. The last year battling with my son's illness. Unfortunately. All the continuing struggles with my son. Unfortunately. And my dad? He was in the ER less than a month ago. Unfortunately. He'll try to downplay it in his blog but he forgot to mention that he had an elevated white count of 20,000. Not something you want to see in a stem cell transplant patient. Unfortunately.