Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The way the heart changes, work & too much coffee!

I was reading a bit of "The Book Of Negroes" while at work today (fabulous read so far btw;  I shall review it soon) and read a couple paragraphs detailing an elderly slave who was thrown off of the ship due to his sick condition.  His wife who had lovingly been caring for him with tenderness in her touch and eyes, wailed and cried and over the course of the following week diminished greatly in health, only to be thrown over herself, joining her husband/partner in the ocean.
"In the next days, the woman's sadness was so great that nobody wanted to stand near her on the deck, or crouch beside her at the food bucket...After two more days, she was no longer moving.  She was carried out and thrown into the deep, the same as her man..."
As I read through those words, my stomach turned within me and I felt a sick twisting in my stomach that I have only experienced once before.  Empathy to the plight of all the Africans who were wrenched away from their homes and treated worse than live-stock, torn away from the people they loved and the culture they were familiar with...but even deeper than the empathy for them was a lingering realization that the wrenching sensation in my heart and stomach wasn't due to my horror from reading those words;  it came from my imagining M. being torn violently away from me, his spirit departing from his body, I left alone in the world without his warmth and comfort.

Even though I have known for months now that I love him deeply, love him through all the disagreements and fights, I have never truly considered how it would feel to lose him in such a final manner.  I have never known this love before, moving so deep within me like the roots of a willow tree, sustaining life and growth.  At times I feel restless because I fret and worry over what future we have together or whether I have what it takes to be in a functional relationship, but the truth that I face while considering these somewhat turbulent emotions is that my life has been ineffably changed by M. being in my life as a lover and friend...and I don't want to return to my life before him.

I had more thoughts to write but work has taken my inspiration and sucked it right out of me!  The only bright moment of the day was when a new resident started talking to me about a patient and it became apparent that I knew more about the patient's medical condition than their nurse did--which isn't saying much as their nurse today was extremely, ehm, silly.  Anyway, he asked me why I wasn't a nurse and I said I didn't like touching people I didn't know (especially sick people), to which he responded with, "What about a radiologist?"

I like it when random people talk to me for a few minutes and right away decide I'm smart enough to be a doctor.  Of course, we can all be whatever we want to be, or that's what we're told as children, but the reality of it is that we do have limitations and we learn quickly from life to build our dreams and plans around them.  That's all I can think about right now.  I had 2 cups of coffee today so my stomach is now in turmoil.  I feel the pressing need to go home, lay down and sleep for several hours without stirring.  These twelve hour shifts are exhausting, especially under these fluorescent lights. 

I feel old.

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