Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I have been working my two jobs: teaching and being on the unit as my regular RN self. I am exhausted. It's been rewarding but extremely tiring. I have allowed my students to start IVs on me: brave or masochistic? At one point, they couldn't get the IV in, so I helped. Maybe not a skill I want to advertise too widely. "Look! I can start IVs on myself!"

I was pushed emotionally to the limit by an adoption on the unit that I cannot discuss, of course. Suffice it to say that it felt unbearably traumatic on many levels. I avoid taking patients who are relinquishing because I know that I cannot be unbiased, but my student had the patient and I ended up in the room to supervise. I cried. Copiously. And afterward at home for days. I felt like I was a cog in the cruel wheel, and I kept thinking, "Sorry, sorry, sorry..."

The San Francisco International Film Festival opens this week, and I have plans to go see Belle, about a mixed-race woman raised in 18th-century Britain by her white relatives: fitting in, and not. On my birthday, with my partner in crime, Nalini.

A friend told me that his aunt has published his grandmother's diary from the war years in Bath. She was an ophthalmologist, and her husband a GP. I have been reading it joyfully; the English of that generation, and with that education, are generally a delight when they open up their worlds to you. I appreciate her forthrightness and pugnacity in getting petrol for the nurse, for example. She describes events and foods and outings with such skill: Churchill's speeches; the wisteria; her practice; the annoyance of the dust everywhere after the blitz. I know from my friend's stories that she was a character, to put it mildly; the diary helps to round out that picture in a brilliant way. My friend paid me a great compliment when once he said that my accounts of the unit sometimes remind him of his grandmother's diary. If you have any interest in diaries or England or WWII, I wholeheartedly recommend getting your hands on Carry on Coping: Diary of a Doctor 1942-1945, by Joan F. Hickson.

Otherwise, I have been pulling myself along. Slowly. Wondering what is the value of relationships carried on in single syllables? Not even poetic syllables. Again, back to that. What is offered, and why? Most of the time I don't care. This week, somehow, of course, I care. Why is it always on me? Why is it my job to reach out more, and more, and be met with another single syllable? I know I can choose to walk away. The burden is immense. What is it that makes other people so laconic? I have done my best to meet halfway, to make amends. To say my piece. If the best I can get in return is one syllable, is that a relationship? I would say that it isn't. It's a web-thin thread. Is that enough for *now*? What a sad situation.

I am more or less content. I have had to find contentment with what is available. It is better than running after what isn't there, or what is false. The best I can do is shove it under the rug, as they do. Which is also sad.

But as I am not an avoider, the lack is painful.

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