Wednesday, February 02, 2011

What ever happened to Irishdoc ?

My, my, my, how time does fly, doesn't it? And you are all still wondering what happened to me. Did I graduate? Did I get away from my abusive ex? Am I safe? Am I happy? Am I free?

The good news. I am 8 months pregnant with my current boyfriend's baby. This pregnancy has been rough, and I think of my other son every day. Knowing what I know now, aborting him was the best decision I ever made. We'll talk about those "things that I know now" one day. My boyfriend makes me happy. I sleep at night now.
I am an attending physician at a local ER. Believe it or not I miss my old ER, some days. Working County, it never mattered whether my patient's had insurance. It matters now.

The bad news. After I got a restraining order, I ended up in the hellhole known as family court. The things that my husband did to me doesn't matter to them. He has no car, no cell phone, no job, and failed his most recent alcohol test. Because I am the only stable parent our daughter has, I pay for everything. Because he can not care for himself, I have to pay him spousal support. Every kick, punch and strangulation had a price. Except I never imagined it would be me paying him. We'll talk about that too, one day.
And I worry so much for her. Her safety, when she has to sleep in his bed with him at night. Him drinking around her. His propensity for violence. She got her two front teeth knocked out in his care. But I can't Prove how it happened so it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is DNA and money in family court. Maybe we will talk about that too... one day.

I wonder how she will feel when she reads this. Will she be proud of me? Will she wish I had made different choices? I know it was just a couple of days ago that I was an intern. Just the other day, I was an abused wife. My, my, my, how time will fly. In another few days she will be a teenager, then an adult. And then we will both finally be free.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Men

I never thought I would be alone for this long and yet I still have no one to share my night's or even my days. Someone to call for the good or the bad. Someone to dream with or plan with. My poor grocer watches me pick out a solo 6 ounce piece of fish and an ear of corn, two to three night's out of the week. A sad testament to the single girl's nightly dilemma of what to eat. And Ive got to admit that I'm pretty darn lonely.
I try really hard to pretend that I am happy, that this is the Hollywood dream it is supposed to be. But even if it means putting up with socks on the floor or the toilet seat up, I miss you men. I miss getting to be the girl. Being scared if the power goes out or of spiders creeping up the walls. I'm a single mother and an Emergency Room physician and there's not very much room for vulnerability in either of those positions. But God Damn I am tired of holding the world up on my shoulders.
I met you men every where. I'm great in groups but never seem quite able to make the transition from girl in the crowd to girl in your arms. You seem to sense the damage and pain from across the room and we never get much farther then you buying me a drink. Truth be told, I was never the girl who was going to go home from the bar with you. I'm just not built that way. I deal with women all the time who would never drink House vodka at a club but seem to go home with the House men all the time. Not me, I just can't seem to let go enough. I don't know you, which means I don't trust you and so the ending seems pretty inevitable doesn't it. I have finally let go off being able to kiss a man, but as for the rest of the game, I'm still not there.
I don't try to be a delicate girl. I hate being that girl so much I almost choke on the thought. That girl. The one who can't seem to completely relax, the one who tenses up when she is touched. That girl, the one who doesn't need to tell you she's been hurt because it's written all over her soul. That girl. You know exactly who I'm talking about. That girl. At some point I became her and she became me and I don't know how to separate the two.
I hate that I tense up when you wrap your arm around my waist. I freeze when you try to massage my shoulders. As one man said recently "you would enjoy it if you just let me love you" I have no doubt I would and as soon as I find the strength to , maybe I'll give you a call. But right now I can't. And I'm lonely and it hurts so much to be here and not to be with you men. I've learned how to put together furniture, and haggle with the car repairman. To learn the things through trial and error that seem to come so easily to you. But I don't want this job on top of all the others. I want to be held, to be vulnerable, to be the girl. And to let you be the big strong man once in a while. And if I knew how to say all that at the bar, at the club, even when were texting on the phone, maybe I wouldn't be so and feel so alone.
So Dear Men, I am broken and I am Damaged. But I promise you there was once a good women here. A loving woman. A trusting woman. And I don't think I can find her without your help. So I'm sorry I'm difficult, and suspicious, and probably a whole lot harder to be with then that girl dancing with her hand on the floor and her ass in the air. I'm the one the one in the corner, alone. And I'm know I much more work then you wanted to take on, but I wish you would try. I wish you could believe in me more than I'm able to believe in myself. I wish you could see me as more that that girl, and just see me as a girl. A girl who wants to meet a man. And get to know him first. And get to trust him. And maybe pick up two serving's of fish tonight for dinner, instead of one....

Friday, March 13, 2009

And I was doing so well

Just so you know, I had a really great post planned. It was about how I was doing so well lately. One about how things were getting better and how I had decided to reclaim my space and my nights. And more importantly to reclaim my voice, because I can't seem to tell people how I feel in the real world and I want so much from them and I don't know how to ask. I was going to say the things to my friend that I should have said while he was here. Namely, that he should have held me without me having to ask. And I was going to give myself a pep talk about how to go about asking. I was going to talk abut that moment on the couch, watching him struggle with the lock when I started to think and feel and not fight it. When I said "It wasn't supposed to be this way" and he said something about it being a stupid lock. And I nudged harder and said "I wasn't talking about the lock" with a soft and strained voice. I leaned forward and I wanted to cry, probably needed to cry. But I couldn't tell him that. I was too scared. Scared of nothing and everything. Scared of looking stupid and vulnerable. And I have to reclaim myself and fight for what I need and tell people then, instead of telling them later. Hidden behind this screen is no way to live, and its not fair to me or to any one else. I had a great post planned that would have made all of this sound so much better, more sincere and elegant. Instead of all this rambling. That's not all I had to say either. I need to go into her room. I haven't been there since she left. And I can't go in there. I was going to talk about how I'm stronger. About going in there. Sitting on the floor in that pale pink room and just letting the horror in. And then letting the pain out. I was going to talk about how I was ready to start to challenge myself, how I want to lay under that crib one more time because I know it will break me. And I was feeling well enough to do that to myself. Maybe with some help, but still. Oh the beautiful post I was going to write so you guys could all stop worrying.

But I don't have that post right now. I don't have that strength. I ain't got shit but a keyboard, and some new locks and I am waiting for the sun to come up. I am fucking scared. Better than a few hours ago, but just because adrenaline can only last so long. And it's been a long night. Fuck, it's been a long night. I came home from my lovely job, relatively happy, so would say perky. Because things have been better. Because I haven't been scared. Irritated, sleep deprived, and pregnant with a blog that needed to come out. But not scared. And here's the stupid part, where it's time for me to take my blame. I forgot to lock the door when I left. Fucking forgot. But this is the first time. I came in and the TVs were left on. Except, I didn't leave them on. The cable boxes are gone. And my pictures are gone. But I'm still holding my own, no worries. He's been here. He's gone now. Then I think of why he is so mad. It's not about changing the locks. He planned on seeing my daughter this weekend and he wanted the truck to take there and I refused. I think he's going to run with her soon and I'll be damned if he thinks I'm helping him do that. So I'm worried, and I walk over to where the I keep the spare key, and it's gone.
At this point I am annoyed but I can handle this. I'm mad but I have worked the problem, and I have a plan.
So I take the elevator down to the truck because I'm going to go to the 24 hour Kmart and buy The Club. Then it doesn't matter if he has the key. And I'm reasonable proud of myself, hell, I probably have a little smirk on my face. I get in the car and I smell the faint odor of cigarettes. I hate cigarettes. Never would have dated my ex had he smoked. But he didn't when we met. Like all good bipolars though, he picked up the habit, and became one of those strange people who develop nicotine addiction much later in life. But he hasn't been in the car for at least a month. There is a faint flicker of a warning there, but in my hubris, I let it go. Then I put the key in the ignition and turn it over and hear...Silence. Oh. Shit.
Oh shit. This truck worked not ten minutes ago. And it has a new battery. He put it in himself not two months ago. Oh Shit. He's here. He's real close. He's gotta be somewhere in the fucking garage. This car has been fucked with. It's around midnight. Everyone else in my complex is asleep. No one's going to open that basement door and walk in any time soon. I lock the car doors. Pick up the phone. And I'm fucking beside myself with terror. There is nothing else but terror. My car is disabled. No one else is around. I am cornered in a parking garage with that man. You can't watch all places at once. Can't look out the back and the passenger side and the drivers side all at the same time. Trust me I tried. I'm looking everywhere but seeing nothing all at the same time. I have this realization, this flash forward, that I will only see him a a second before he has me. It's this flash forward now I see every time I close my eyes. I'm fucked. I am dead in the water. I am the fish shot in the barrel. Fuck, I didn't see it coming. Out maneuvered, out gunned, out of options. Fuck. I hear that line in my head in his voice. He used to say all the time, I heard it everyday, until it became a part of me. "How can someone so smart, be so stupid" I hear it everytime I want to speak up and express how I feel. I'll know the answer in rounds and I hear that line and I don't answer because maybe, just maybe, the answer got changed when I wasn't looking and I don't want to open my mouth and be so smart and so stupid. And I know he's in my garage. He is watching. He's enjoying this. And he is laughing to himself.
Fuck. I have my phone and I am debating how best to use it. I could call the police. But say what, my car won't start and I'm stuck in a parking garage. I have had several run ins with my town's police department and to say that they have let me down is an understatement. I will tell you one day, how I didn't think I could get any lower and I didn't care anymore if anyone found out. I called them and they did nothing. Worse then doing nothing, they taught my husband and me that it didn't matter if I called. I thought I was holding a pretty high card, that domestic violence card, and when it got real bad I played it. And when those officers walked in and then left me there as they walked out, I realized just how rigged the game was. Fuck that. So the police are out. I have but in place the Mother of all Hail Mary texts in my phone. It is my name, my address, and it directs the receivers to send the police and ambulance immediately. Having called 911 from my cell phone I know that it is a process to get some help. I'm guessing I won't have time to jump through those hoops. And I have planned accordingly. Except I know that text is only designed to go out once. I'm being terrorized but not brutalized, so that is out. I low ball a smaller Hail Mary text, try to keep it light. My car is disabled, I'm stuck, who's up? I'll leave out the heart pumping, white knuckled, animal trapped in a corner part of this situation. I get pinged back in rapid succession and a phone call from someone who has always been there.
That man would love me if I would just let him. But tale as old as time. He wants me, but I don't want him. I know I should. He is the quintessential nice guy that always comes in last. I wish he made me feel safe and protected, I wish he helped me feel not afraid. And I have tried to lay in that man's arms and fall asleep, but I can't. I haven't even let him read my blog, though he knows a great deal about my situation. I texted him once, barefoot, soaking wet from the sprinkler, hiding from my husband in the bushes in front of my apartment. "If I needed you to come get me right now, could you?" "Of course" And out went my address. He must have been so hot in that car, with the heater on full blast as I sat shivering in his passenger seat. He would have listened but I wasn't willing to talk. Would have held me, but I couldn't stand to be touched. We talk, he is not a dumb man and he knows I'm in trouble. We decide to get me out of the car while still talking to each other. If the phone goes dead, he'll call the police. I pop the hood and the battery has been disconnected. Fuck. This must be how the gazelles feel approaching the water hole. You know it's a trap, you know it's a set up. But you still have to do what you have to do. I reconnect the battery and jump back in the truck. And lock it. The truck starts right up and I creep out the sliding gate. One eye glued to the rear window.
Both replies ask the same thing. "Are you okay?" NO. No you assholes I'm really, really, really, fucking scared. I'm really hurting and I'm scared. And I'm scared of getting hurt. And I can't believe this is my life. I can't believe this has happened to me. I don't know how I fell of the edge of the earth but I did and there is nothing but fear and sorrow on the other side. I am so tired of living my life waiting for the bogeyman to come get me. And I am tired of pretending everything is so fucking okay when it's not. I'm not okay tonight, I'm not okay, I'm not fucking okay. FUCK.....I text back that of course I'm okay. Because what else do they want me to say. If they gave a shit they would have called. Would have checked in to see if I was crying, or my voice was quivering. To listen for themselves if I was anywhere close to being okay. But instead we all hide behind a 160 character limit on our humanity and wonder why are lives are so adrift. How's that for reclaiming my fucking voice.
I get the steering wheel lock and a spare battery at the store. I walk through the children's section to try to hide the peculiarity of my shopping cart with happier things from happier times. I'm not quite sure what to do. Do I go home? Do I sleep in my car? Is it safe? And if it's not will it ever be? What was his plan? Was he going to take the truck. Or was he trying to thwart my escape from some confrontation he had planned? I don't know. Maybe he was just trying to scare me...and it worked. It worked really fucking well. I am as hyper vigilant as I can get. I can't sleep. I can't even turn out the lights. Every sound is him. Every car that goes down the alley. And I had been doing so well too. I had considered spending some time with a man but now I can't be near them again. I'm a fucking wreck. I feel like I've been knocked back to the bottom of the ocean after I had been swimming so hard to the top. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I thought things were getting better. Just so you know, I had such a great post planned about how I was doing so well.....

Monday, March 02, 2009


I'm not entirely sure the benzos are helping. I certainly sleep more than I used to and to all the world I seem more composed, but there is a post sedation fog that I really don't like. A dampening effect on my words and thoughts that others seem to appreciate. But I am worried. There is probably a good reason for all the pain I'm going through and will probably emerge a better person for having gone through it. I am giving birth to a new me and a new future. Ask any doctor, give pain meds to soon in the process and the labor will stall. Ultimately becoming more prolonged and dangerous. Taking a shortcut to the other side is probably a bad idea. I find I don't dream on the drugs. No nocturnal defragmenting of my mind. But, no waking up in the middle of the night sweating and shaking either. My soul is simply a light turning on and off. Awake, asleep, then back awake again. No tossing or turning; no thinking or remembering. I don't know if it's better. I wondering if I'm just setting myself up for a harder fall. Mother nature has vastly more experience than I, and I don't like circumventing her. Perhaps, I need a series of small earthquakes to avoid the Big One. The fault line in my soul is certainly still there. Still active, and like a Southern California architect I continue to build my future on this unsteady ground. Betting that when the rumbling starts I will be spared.

I started taking them after my last visit with my daughter. We went to the zoo and horseback riding. Slept in the same bed, sharing the same breathe back and forth. Oh what beautiful sleep it was. Not this sugary sweet, artificially sleep concocted by pharmaceuticals. But it had to end and the goodbye was devastating. Devastating. Children have not been forced to suppress emotion, to acquire a public persona that hides pain and sorrow. No, when they hurt it is raw and real, and savage. Even now, partially sedated ,I can feel her hot sweaty fingers clinging to my neck as my sister peeled her off of me. "I wonna go wif you Mommy. I wonna go home" Oh baby, I want to go home too. I just don't know where it is. Despite her pleas I closed the door on her. Her face frozen in horror and shock with the realization that her Mommy left her. All she wants is to stay with me and I closed the door on her. Then we both broke down, sobbing. Me on one side, her on the other. The door shaking as she is throwing herself against it, trying to keep me there. My mother held me, but her mother didn't hold her. And my heart hurt. It's been years since I felt that tangible heartbreak, a dull pressure and squeezing in my chest. The physical manifestation of an emotional wounding. Driving to the airport I get the familiar buzz of my cell phone and I am so thankful because I have set up a friend to take care of me tonight. To not be alone and in pain. Because I knew that leaving her behind would be one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I am correct. But, he has called to cancel. As hard as I try to prevent these nights and these heartbreaks I keep failing. I have reached out above and beyond my comfort zone, clearing saying to all those who will hear me that I can not keep shouldering this burden alone. That I will carry my sorrow and tears away with me in the morning, if they will just hold them for me tonight. But I have failed to offer enough in the negotiation process to seal the deal. At some point I will have to trade sex for comfort, to fulfill the age old contract men and women have always penned in the wee hours. But not this night. I am still bound by my previous contract, the marital contract, if only because it is a bit of familiarity in this still foreign world.

Arriving at the airport, the flight attendants won't let me on the plane. I am a walking disaster. My face is flushed, tears continue to stream down my face. I can't talk without my voice squeaking, then cracking, and finally I dissolve into tears. There are some women who cry beautifully, like a motion picture, that solitary tear can contain their sorrow. But I am not one of them. I am a wet, snotty, sobbing mess and I can not fly like this. I make the other passengers nervous; as if my agony will infect the plane and bring us all down. So I start taking shots of vodka, trying to numb myself up. When I can hold a conversation without falling apart I return to the counter to plead my case. I board last. And as the wheels lift off the ground I feel my soul splintering. Half in one state, half in another. Some on her side of the door, some on mine. Some in the Before, some in the After. It is parcelled out like so much candy on Halloween. Until the bowl is empty and there is nothing left for me.

I will make this trip again in four days. And this time I drive straight from the airport to the ER. Where I am expected to be whole person, and a selfless doctor, instead of the comminuted fracture I have become. This is why I must be sedated. This is why I have the benzos. I'm not sure they're helping though. Deep down I know this is a shortcut I should not be taking.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream

I've got to conquer the nightly struggle to sleep because I can't continue to lose this battle.. Everyday I stumble through an artificially slow world because I am just not sleeping at night anymore. No matter how tired I am, once I lie in this bed my brain refuses to shut down. I was doing so well too. Then he came back, unannounced. I had just finished an overnight shift and was crashed out in blissful sleep when I heard the door open. And there he was: He has stopped taking his medications and started drinking again. He is a crying emotional wreck that I have neither the time or personal reserve to take care of anymore. And so we fight. Nasty, screaming, drag down but not knock down fight. He left, and I haven't slept since.

I live on a busy street and can tell the time fairly well based on the traffic pattern outside. My arch nemesis is the 5:15 bus. Up until that bus passes I am still convinced that I have a chance to sleep that night. Then my hopes are dashed by the sound of the diesel engine straining to make it up the hill. I hate that damn bus. During the day when I'm post night shift those same buses travel by each and every half hour, steady as the recent rain. But at night the street is silent except for an occasional traveller or two. And then I hear that bus. Sometimes I cry, because I know that I have to leave for work in half an hour and my chance to sleep is over. Furious because sunrise follows that bus and for everyone else the day has just begun. For me, it has just not ended. I used to play with a friend of mine when I couldn't sleep. I would text him every morning when the bus went by. 5:19, 5:16, 5:22, and we would keep track of when it was late. If I didn't text it meant I slept, and my soul was still. But most of his days started with a text of a time.

When your day doesn't officially begin or end the edges of your sanity get frayed and the concept of yesterday and the day before getting stretched into one long continuum of hours. Your ability to sequence events is strained and it gets difficult to communicate basic information about past events. It's considered torture in most countries for a reason. I look at my charting later and see all the misspellings and mistakes, that is if I can find my charts. I lose them so readily and waste more time searching the same places because I'm not sure, Did I checked this rack today? Or was that yesterday. At this point they're the same day. The same miserable lonely day stretched infinitum

I'm approaching my limit soon for just how much sleep deprivation I can take. Everyone at work can see it on my face and feel it as get tripped up on basic conversation. I walked in the other day and heard the collective gasp as people could see last night's every toss and turn embedded in my face. We all know someone needs to put me to bed and hold me until I fall asleep, but instead I'm running the room. Hopped up on caffeine and Hawaiian punch, people throw information at me at a dizzying rate. "Irishdoc line 17", "we need a doctor to the radio room", "can Bed 14 eat?", "critical lab for Bed 2", "Respiratory Therapy ER Bed 2 STAT". Meanwhile there's a line of patient's to triage and I've lost control of midroom. There I am standing in the middle of it the tornado trying to process it all. Just white-knuckling my way through the day because I'm convinced that this night, this time when the sun goes down, I will get to sleep. Perchance to dream...

Except it's already well into the morning. The street is quiet. And I'm pretty sure I hear the 5:15 bus rounding the corner.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It is a strange situation when you find yourself a stranger in your own life. I wake up in the same bed, drive the same car and yet every breath seems foreign to me. This is not the same life I have been living. There is no car seat in the truck, no lunch box to pack, everything is exactly as I leave it everyday when I return. After fourteen years of being with someone I am experiencing loneliness for the first time. I have envied so many single friends and only now do I understand what it is like to be all alone surrounded by a sea of humanity. I surf through Facebook and Myspace trying to find old friends and struggling to make new ones. I have been hidden for so long beneath this enormous lie that was our marriage and trying so hard to pretend like my life was the same as my peers that I don't know where to start sometimes. There is no twelve step program to stand up and declare "I am a battered woman. My husband is an alcoholic, a drug abuser, and suffers from a debilitating mental disorder. I chose him and I stayed with him until he almost killed me. Today is the first day of the rest of my life"
Everything still has the tainted feel of the previous life. I still park the car and sit gathering my thoughts and preparing for whatever I might walk into. In my old life I never had the luxury of stability or security. I used to sit in the garage trying to ready myself for the nights activities. Sometimes I walked in and all was well. Sometimes I walked into a war zone, shifting from the chaos that was work into the chaos that was home. It is amazing how quickly you learn to make those adjustments. How hard it is to let go of the known, even when it is cruel and cold, just to avoid the unknown.
I walk into her room and it is so cold. There's no need to keep the heater on if she's not going to be there. Dust is starting to settle on the windowsill. I still think I hear her chasing the cats through the living room. The last night she was here I slept in her room. Beside her crib, which is unusual because when things were really bad I used to sleep under it. God what a shitty mother I was to need my child to protect me from my husband. I slept under her crib, woke up the next morning and went to work like nothing was wrong. After living a falsehood so long you start to forget where the truth really lies. In my case, it was under a crib. I think I'm going to get rid of it soon.
I started cleaning the house. Removing the years of accumulated memories and disappointments. No need to hold onto birthday cards from a decade ago. I suppose there never was, but I did it anyway and now I'm not quite sure what to do with all the shoe boxes of promises and dreams that will never be realized. Do I keep them for her so she knows that we loved each other, that her history and birth was not a mistake. Or do I just let it all go. A past life that is gone and is never coming back. I suppose a lot of it depends on what happens now, in the After. If he breaks down, gets hospitalized, kills himself, or me then it will be all she will have to know her father. I think of all the freshly orphaned children I have seen in my job and I know they want to hold onto all those memories. Everything their parent ever wrote or even touched. I just don't know whether she will need these things. I don't know if I need them. I guess it goes back to the question I ask all the time. Am I widowed or divorced? Is the man I married dead or alive.
The painful part has been finding all the hidden parts of him. Trash bags of empty vodka bottles, 211 malt liquor, and remnants of drug abuse. Some of it explains the ups and downs, the times I knew he was high or drunk but listened as he lied to my face. The answers to the worst moments of my life hidden in cabinets, on top of the refrigerator, under the mattress. Hauling it all out into the light of day I realize just how far down the rabbit hole he has gone and why I can never follow him down. I've been cleaning for days now and I don't know if I'll ever get the stain of him out of my house, off my body, and free from my soul.
So I suppose this is After. Decidedly different then before. Better, but I don't know who I am anymore. Maybe I never did. I just know that there was a Before and an After. But right now it just seems like I'm still stuck in the middle.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Battle Lines

Sorry to be gone so long, I know you worry. Life has been thrown into full panic mode recently and I haven't had much time to regroup. My life is accelerating into the light at the end of the tunnel: and I'm pretty sure it's an oncoming train. My program has decided that I am not progressing into becoming a doctor at a sufficient pace. Apparently I am distracted at work. I am letting my personal life compete with my job as a doctor and like a spoiled mistress, work is having a temper tantrum. They're not willing to ask what they could have done to contribute to the complete and utter destruction of my personal life. Nope. I have a problem as they see it and I'd better fix it. I'm sure it had nothing to do with being allowed to get septic for a month. Nothing to do with the fact that the people who should have been there for me were no where to be found and the people they disdain were the ones risking their licences pumping me full of meds to keep me going. Interestingly, we didn't discuss that.
I also seem to have a chip on my shoulder lately. Again no huge mystery there. Let's see I've given medicine and my residency my marriage, my youth, my health, and the first three years of the only shot of motherhood I'll probably ever take. Sorry if I think it's somebody else's turn to feed the bitch. I got nothing left.
Regardless, I am not developing the right attitude to be a physician. I am more interested in hanging out with the nurses and clerical staff then I am bullshitting with my fellow physicians and engaging in the grand circle jerk called literature review. It seems I think that the people on that side of the window understand more of what it's like to live in the real world then those on my side. On any one shift I can talk to at least one or two nurses who are single parents or are going through a divorce. One my side of the window there are thirty year olds who are still living with their parents. There is not one resident in my program who is divorced (very few who are even married), and there is not one woman with a child. I don't know why we haven't really bonded like were supposed to. It can't be that aside from medicine we have nothing in common.
Apparently I am also not aggressive enough in getting procedure and ICU players. I do however have the highest conversion rate of turning ICU patients into DNI/DNR's. Instead of convincing my patients families to go all out on their 95 y/o grandma and do everything I tell them the truth as I've seen it a hundred times, tell them that it is time and stand with them after I've pulled the tube. You get points for intubating and CPR but not for pulling the tube and seeing the patient gently to the other side. I knew this was coming. I got in a fight with one of my attendings a few months back about a similar thing. We had a young GSW to the chest arrive and not two seconds later his mother burst through the double doors screaming and sobbing. And I grabbed her in my arms as she 's losing it and push her against the wall and down it. Just far enough out of the way where she can't see the action but I can hear it and it's not going well. The police arrive to drag her out by her arms and legs and I shoo them away, because she has every right to be in this state. Her only son is dying steps away from her, if there is any time to be hysterical, it is now. So you have this huge black lady whose world has come completely unraveled being held in the arms of this little white girl with glasses, while someone is cracking her child's chest. And I have to hold her in my arms because I know that they are going to come charging past our area, like a runaway locomotive. And if I don't block her view she will see him flayed open, blood streaming down the gurney rails, with 20 people wrapped in yellow gowns and splattered with crimson stains looking terrified as they run for the elevator. When she remembers her son (because I know he's not going to make it) every memory will be forever intruded on by this last horrible vision. And I'm not going to let her see it, so I'm on the floor with her, my body blocking her view as I hear them readying to make the mad dash to the OR. And as they start to run past, I tell her I don't think he will survive, so that she will collapse into me just as they make there way past us. She never saw them, was so engulfed in her sorrow that she never knew he was inches away from her dying. And she will never have a memory of her son bloodied and ripped open and dead. I go back to the big room and my attending tells me I missed a chance to put in a femoral line. A bullshit central line. I missed a procedure I could have gotten credit for. I remember thinking, I don't want to be that person. The one who sees people as procedures and diseases instead of mothers and sons. I don't want to be a doctor if that's what it means. Sometimes it feels like a battle for my soul in that room and I have clearly chosen the wrong side as far as their concerned. You can either be a person whose a doctor or a doctor whose a person. The job of residency is turn me into a doctor and I'm failing at that. And I don't see that as a problem.
So I have five months left to try to pass. To pretend like medicine is the wonderful all consuming process that they think it should be. To make it the central figure in my life and my first and only love even though I see it as corrupted and immoral. To pretend like the people on my side of the glass have all the answers and are morally superior just because they went to medical school. When I know that the people on the other side are my true friends. They have experiencing picking their friends off the floor and holding them until they can stand again. They were there when I finally started to ask for help, handing me their numbers for the nights I struggle being alone, keeping me going when my colleagues just cared about who was going to cover my shifts. I know who my friends are and they don't have MD behind their names. I've dusted off my long white coat, they one I've never worn at work except to give death notifications. And I will wear it everyday now, just to wrap myself in the moral superiority that is expected of me. I am sending my child to live with my parents, even though she is the only thing that keeps me grounded, because I have been told I have to focus. Despite three years of seeing her be my only joy, my job sees my daughter only as a distraction and not as my salvation. She is competition to them. I am going deeper in debt to get an apartment for my mentally disturbed husband, because I will not abandon him to the streets. After fourteen years, after all the horrors he's put us through, I still meant my marriage vows and I will take care of him until he dies. I'm okay with that, even if no one else is. My apartment is empty, medical books and journals strewn about, white coat pressed and clean. I am readying for battle these days. Because after everything I have lost I will not lose my soul, I will not become what I hate, and I'm not staying in residency one second longer than I have to. There is big bright world waiting for me, a light at the end of the tunnel. And I am ready to leave all this darkness behind.