The following is not FACTUALLY accurate. Details have been changed, things deleted, stuff made up, all to protect identity. But it is 100% absolutely true.
"If we live long enough in this world, we will have our hearts broken. And do they heal? Well, maybe not fully, ever. But in the cracked and broken pieces, that's where the light shines through. We walk in the world forever after with more depth, more sensitivity, more compassion. Our love affair with the world begins with a broken heart."
- Marilyn Sewell
He faced an aggressive cancer. He was facing death. He certainly faced physical pain as evidenced by the multiple bone metastases. My experience tells me that bone mets are some of the most painful conditions imaginable. Experience also tells me that the existential anxiety is equally painful, though. And he was young. But not ONE doctor had sat down and asked he how he was doing. And I mean, how are you DOING. No one had sat down and gotten their hands dirty. Which is to say, gotten their emotions dirty. Expose themselves emotionally. Be open and listen. Hear the full extent of his pain. Things he could not tell his spouse. Things he could not tell his parents. Things he could not tell his children. Things he could not tell his best friends. Things he could not even tell himself. But things he could tell his doctor. If only, they would be willing to listen. So, I listened. I spent nearly two hours with him. And I by the time he left.........
A wise man, mentor, and friend once advised me, you're going to have to figure out where to draw the line. It does no good to open up to every patient if you lose yourself in the end. You cannot save everyone. I am still figuring out where to draw that line.
January 8, 2018
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Not exactly an even wear. On a riding heel, no less, so that's not a trivial amount of mileage. Not ridden atop a mighty steed, but ridden hard and long nonetheless. And whipped many a time with a riding crop. It's my left foot. I don't even need to check which foot it is. It is the foot that drags when my back starts hurting. And I don't mean hurting. I mean REALLY hurting. A pulsing numbness, yet combined yet with searing pain exists in a mutually exclusive duality going down my left leg. Numbness. And pain. There's no explaining how those two exist side by side unless you've felt it. And my wife looks for a new pair of boots to last this final sprint towards the finish line. An identical replacement, really. For they have served me well. After all, I have earned the name of Vaquero Doc. Why trade it in now?