It's been a frustrating couple weeks. I wouldn't call myself a "control freak", I mean, especially compared to people with "real" control issues. But I do get annoyed, mostly about the things beyond my ability to change. Seems pretty constant for the past little while. Circumstances let me down. Things I thought would be awesome turned out to really stink. And then the little things. They turn into big things when they keep coming one after the other. It's like an ant bite - one is bothersome, but if you accidentally find your foot in the ant hill, 25 of them are almost all consuming. The small things add up.
Like the OR. No appropriate instruments. I keep asking for them. But nobody is moving to even look for them. I had a small tantrum this week, broke sterility, untied my gown, dropped it, and went to look for the instruments myself. Did I find them? No. Technically it was a useless moment, but somehow it made me feel like something was actually happening.
And the same day, I asked the staff to call the last case of the day in for her surgery. It was 2 pm. But, no, anesthesia says they can't take the case back because it just passed 2 o'clock and the staff will soon be low. Really? I told them to go tell the patient that because I was too ashamed to tell her something that sounded so dumb. They just laughed and said no. So, I have to walk into the ward to give her the news. "You'll have to wait another day." She wants to know why, but heck, I don't know - I don't understand it a bit. She's got to pile onto the next day, so make that six cases tomorrow instead of five.
Oh, and just as I was closing the belly of the patient before her, frustrated by the news that they wouldn't bring the next patient, I see a spot bleeding. I want to use the instrument called the bovie to make the bleeding stop. It kind of makes a small burn in order to stop little areas of bleeding. I look, but it's already been thrown off onto the floor. I always ask to keep it on until I'm finished, but its gone every time. So, I ask for another one to be put out. It's plugged in, I push the button, here the "neeeeeeeee" that means its working. A millisecond of feeling less frustrated, at least I have another one ready to use now. Then I feel the intense burning through my gloved hand. Yep, its on fire. Not just a little touch of heat, an actual full blaze in my hand. I threw it on the floor and removed my glove. Turns out that the "cleaning solution" that they are soaking those in is alcohol, which is highly flammable, of course. Coupling the fierce burn in my right pinky finger with the now mountain-like mound of frustrations, I held back the tear that wanted to come. It wasn't a sad tear, it was anger and lack of control and a unmet hope for things that could, and should, be different.
That's a few moments in one day. And some days there are similar moments one after the next after the next. I could write a book on technologic frustrations. Nobody wants to read about that, so I won't. Or I could show you the chapters in my specialty books, that no matter how many times I read, I just cannot get everything out of that I should be able to. But, since I can't understand them and think they are boring, you wouldn't like to hear any more about them either. The list goes on...
And then once in a while something awesome will happen. Like the day following the one described above. I knew that there were more cases than I could do. I knew that there wouldn't be much help. I knew from the moment I awoke that the day had lots of potential to be frustrating and overwhelming. But then, the general surgery attending just showed up. I mean, it was wonderful. He sent all of his available residents to help get the C-sections done, and he even helped assist me on a hysterectomy himself. During the case I asked, "Don't you guys have two cases today? Don't you need to be doing those?" That actually triggered his mind that yes, they did have cases, and he had forgotten them because he was trying hard to help get mine done. I was, and still am, suspicious. See, he is my neighbor. Like the kind of neighbor that I can hear talking in their house. Don't know what they are saying, but its close enough to hear something. I wondered if he heard me praying the night before or that morning. Had he heard me so frustrated and sad before the Lord. Or, had he been peeking in my window the night before? Because that was the only time since I've been here that I have shed a self-pity tear. But I talked to my family and it pushed me over the edge. I had to let a few tears fall as I was drifting off to sleep. I mean the man is a nice fellow, but something must have pushed his compassion button a little harder to help so much that day.
Or maybe, it is just that God sometimes reminds us of how much He loves us. When we get so consumed by the frustrations - often real, valid things that should frustrate us - it is so easy to lose our sight of Him. Carrying burdens so heavy often leaves me feeling restrained in my worship, and even my love toward Him. My prayers are pitiful. I'm too tired to invest in Him. Too mentally drained to focus. My spirit just wants to rest. He doesn't get my best. But He loves us even then. Sometimes He relieves the burdens, sometimes he refreshes us while we carry them. But He never leaves us. We never walk the paths alone.