May 22, 2016

god has a horrible sense of humor

I am signing an order that needs the date and time so I ask the nurse. "May 22nd". Of course. Why else would my very first patient in the ER be one suffering from the horrific pain that bone metastases inflict? At the end of my shift, I was able to get them admitted to the hospital. And got a thumbs up from the patient. I will not elaborate upon what Herculean (and self alienating) measures were required to get to that point where a thumbs up is the best possible outcome one could wish for as a doctor. Instead, I look down at my left wrist, my familiar and well worn Mala beads rolled comfortably around my wrist. I roll one unnoticeably in between my thumb and forefinger, close my eyes, and become grounded to these ancient words which arose from my memory five years ago on a Sunday morning at 3:30 am. 

Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
To show this final honour to the dead,
And speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
Since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
Now at least take these last offerings, blessed
By the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
And, for eternity, Brother, ave atque vale
‘Hail and Farewell.’

No comments: