Friday, August 31, 2012

The Workweek in Stories

The worst moment...
I found myself kneeling on the floor sobbing. The patient didn't start off as mine, though I had met her as well as her sweet mother the day before. The mother grabbed my hands that day and kept saying stuff like, "she is in your hands doctor", and "we trust you doctor". I didn't know them, and they weren't in my hands. I didn't even do her surgery. I wasn't really invested in her. Until I came by just to do a quick check and realized that she had a major post-operative complication. I was so frustrated by the fact that it could have probably been prevented, should have been caught at a much earlier time. If the ultrasound department would have been open, they could have helped me make the diagnosis, or if the ultrasound on labor and delivery would have turned on at least I could have confirmed it. But none of those things happened. So I made the clinical decision to take her back to surgery. Reopening her confirmed my suspicion, except it was worse than I had ever seen. Someone asked, "what should we do?" I pretended that I wasn't scared and just said that I didn't know. I felt so helpless. If I weren't scrubbed in I would have gotten a book and started reading, or found a computer and hit google, up to date, something, anything to find an answer as to what to do. Finally, we closed the wounded exterior of her abdomen back together and decided to just wait. I wondered all day if she was still bleeding in there, hidden inside that maternal frame. I thought of how young she was. Thought about her mother holding the new grandchild in her arms while she wondered what would happen to her own daughter. So finally I made it home in the evening and found myself weeping before the Lord, begging Him to heal her. She needed a better Physician than me. I found myself in a place where we never like to go, to a place where we are helpless. But for those who serve the Father, it is not a place of true despair, but where desperation and hope meet. It is there where God often shows Himself  and makes Himself known. The place at the end of ourselves, where we lay down the burden that was too heavy for us. Where we realize that we can bring our worries and needs and cares to place them in the hands of our Father.

The most humiliating moment...
Frustrating moment after frustrating moment. Having to leave my patients waiting while I walked all over the hospital grounds looking for someone to answer my questions time after time. I had held my tongue so well and hidden my frustrations all day long. And then here came another. I had already had to send a couple people back to ultrasound that day. And then another mistake. Could they not understand that I needed clarity with this patient. I am deciding whether to deliver her based on their ultrasound measurements.  If I use one of the numbers versus the other, it leaves me over a month off. That means the difference as to whether the baby can breathe or not. So up the walkway I came again. I wasn't yelling, but making it very clear that this was important and that I needed an answer. Their numbers weren't working out. I explained it over and over again. Brought out my little round wheel that calculates a baby's age. Over and over showed the man how he wasn't making any sense. And then he brought it to my attention that I was looking at a month advanced of the actual date. That would account for being just over 4 weeks off of the date they were calculating for me. I wish there would have been some way for me to keep my pride, you know, brush it off as if I knew that all along. But there wasn't. The best thing to do was just to stop. So I looked him in the eye and touched his shoulder. "You are a very smart man. And I am a very dumb doctor. You are totally right. And I am acting like an idiot." They were all gonna say it once I left anyways, so I thought it best just to get it out in the open.

The moments that are starting to feel more normal...
I just killed another massive termite as I was about to write this sentence. Not like our termites. Flying huge winged insects. Killed it with my bare hand. Before I was using a shoe. But then last night things got out of control. I don't know what specific natural oddity occurred, but they were everywhere. All I can compare it to is the plagues in Egypt. I became a bug killing machine. Its like I was trained as a marine or something. They were assaulting my house, and I defended it well. I still have them all scattered around on the floor from where I won that battle. I found something here that I am really good at.
Another thing that I thought I was getting good at was my breathing regimen. See, to get to my clinic room you have to walk the path beside the toilets. I can be a bit slow at times, so it took me a couple days to notice where in the world that smell was coming from. But then I started practicing. Big deep breath about 20 feet away as approaching...hold it...hold it...hold it...walk faster...don't pass out...ahhh, big breath again. I thought I had it. But then today I got it wrong every single time. Turns out breathing appropriately is really hard to learn.
The rain comes every day. I thought the sun didn't come, but turns out I am just working when it is out. By evening when I am off, it's raining again. But it isn't tricking me anymore. I've got my umbrella in my pocket. Got my purple rain boots at the door. Rain jacket and waterproof headlamp standing ready. And instead of finding it dreary, I find great pleasure in walking through puddles in my boots. Children know well the inexpressible delight, but somewhere along the way we adults lost the joy of it. But I have gotten that joy back. I smile a goofy grin as I plod through the deepest parts.

1 comment:

  1. Praying for you, Christy! Thanks for sharing!