Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Weight of Work

I am caring for a lot of very sick people right now, which isn't typical.  Most of my patients have chronic, slowly progressive illnesses, so a lot of the work that I do is just checking in on generally healthy people to make sure that everything is okay.  Lately though, things haven't been okay.  I have patients going for major procedures, patients in hospital, and patients approaching the end of life.

I know that this isn't about me.  The people most affected by this are of course the patients themselves and the people who love them.  And yet, this is hard for me too.  It is hard to be witness to suffering, particularly when there is nothing in my medical bag of tricks that I can use to change the outcome.  I can of course offer comfort and support and symptom control, but dammit, sometimes I just want to fix it.  I want life to not be the way it is, with illness and death and all of the other bad things.

So tonight I'm lying low.  I've passed on trivia night, and I'm sitting in my sweatpants with a steaming bowl of spaghetti bolognase and a cuddly cat.  And I'm grieving all of the things I cannot change.

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