There have been so many as of late. So many who hurt so much that they don’t value. They don’t value to the point that they find themselves laying in beds, with or without tubes in their mouths, with counteractive drugs running through their veins, with restraints on their wrists, writhing wildly in bed or lying so incredibly still.
The families come and sit and watch and wait and grieve and their mere existence displays the value that is, that they do not feel.
And there are too many times when there is no family at all, and the value they don’t feel is loudly reinforced by their aloneness.
I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure if it was the stepping away for a time. I’m not sure if it was the teaching. I’m not sure if it has just been time and aging and maturity. But I feel the jaded cloak that has so long enshrouded my heart cracking and the reality of the work that I do weighing heavier than in previous times.
When rounding, I find myself at times standing alone in the room with the patient, in the dark of night, the patient sleeping, the lights of the monitor illuminating the room, the beeps of the pumps occasionally serenading the overwhelming stillness. When I find myself here, I always think about the day they were born, I think about the purity they embodied, I think about the mother who held them at her breast, and I wonder what transpired from that day to this day.
Life has transformed and changed their body and their mind and their heart, but they are still that embodiment of purity.
Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I see the blood stained stripes on the bilateral upper extremities.
The patients remain, pulling at the cloak, unable to be released from my HIPPA locked reality.