Saturday, September 25, 2010

To God and to a friend

Like everyone else, I have many insecurities and fears. Some are pretty obvious....anyone who knows me half well, will get a hint of them. Others are so deeply covered up, that sometimes even I forget that they're there. Or I can bs my way around them and have the world and myself fooled. But they're there......lurking beneath the facade of the sometimes confident 25 y/o woman who's still in school, but seeing a small flickering light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the facade isn't that good anyways, and I just don't realize it.  Dunno. I wish I could see what others see when they see me. I've tried asking people that.......never really works out well, because honestly, its kind of an awkward question to ask, and its not really something that most people think about actively. 

Anyways, I digress. This evening, I've had to uncover some of them and deal with them. At least examine them. And it's an unsettling process. But thank God for friends and strong, wise women who aid the process.

So to my friend, J, who may never read this post. Thanks for being there. Thanks for listening and for talking. Thanks for showing me things that I don't want to see. Thanks for having my back. Thanks for making me cry, then making me laugh, but in all things, making me think. Most of all, thanks for reminding me that I have to relinquish control to God. Not that I have much control anyways, but still.....

Now, this medium being cathartic as it is and all, I'm not about to list my fears on the internet where anyone can stumble on them. That's what paper journals are there for. But at least, this is a start. 


One of the things about adult medicine that frustrates me, is that many health problems are self inflicted. Many, certainly not all. Time, age, genetics, environmental factors...........all those play a part. But alcohol and tobacco really really really jack you up!!

In the past month, I've met a couple of patients who are alcoholics and are suffering from the effects of that disease. After a few days of hearing the same story in a different body, I began to get very very annoyed. Why on earth did people put themselves through this kind of pain? Why on earth did they even start only to find themselves so addicted and unable to stop? Why, really, why ? But then God started to work on me and remind me that I too have certain addictions. True, I'm addicted to neither alcohol nor tobacco, but how about blogs? books? cleaning my ears? food? And while the things I'm addicted to wont necessarily show up in physical manifestations and aren't inherently dangerous, they affect how I use my time, money, effort, thoughts, speech, world view etc.

So, I still get upset, angry even, when I see what abuse of substances do to a person. But I also remind myself, that people's stories and lives are more complex than their diseases. People don't just become alcoholics because they want to end up in liver failure neither do they become drug addicts because "well, why not?" Very often there are hurts and damages that go well beneath the surface and go way back in time. The substance abuse is often a huge and devastating symptom of a much darker and deeper problem. The thing is, knowing this doesn't make it easier to take or to understand. And it doesn't make it right. And it doesn't make the pain for the pt go away either.

Sometimes I hate these ambiguous thoughts/ideas/feelings that have no conclusions and no answers.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A timely reminder

Today at church I was reminded that God has good things in store for me in this life. It sounds like a very basic principle, and it actually is. But I get so caught up in the hard things I see on the floors and that I hear about, that I forget that much of life is good, rather than bad. At least, it has been in my experience.

And so as I go through rotations and ponder questions about health, illness, life and death, I think I have to keep repeating to my self- "God has good things in store for you". Where is this coming from? Mostly from the fact that hospitals are sad places. I've said this before but it still stands.

Patients in the hospital are often in pain, very vulnerable, at some low points in their lives. Their families and friends are in the midst of all this with them- it's not an easy thing for any body. The role of the medical team is to talk to them, to try and heal or at worst keep them comfortable. I think this is a heavy calling, and one that I find draining.

Then there are also the patients that no one takes serious for whatever reason- mostly social. Sometimes I cant help but be irritated with them. But sometimes, behind the social issues are real hard core  medical issues that can be missed, and the team has to be careful to not dismiss a pt or his symptoms. But it's hard to remain objective in the face of a patient who is annoying you and pushing every single button that you have.

Medicine is a heavy calling. One that drains me, even as I like it and thrive. But I'm finding so far, that I'm not entirely sure that I'm cut out for the hospitalist setting. I'm also learning very quickly that I have to learn to leave "work" at "work". The dreams about patients and illnesses and everything are becoming a little too much now.