Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Heavy Heart

After fifty shifting the heaviness becomes more difficult

Daytime covering my trainees who manned the picket line today in protest of the inevitable pay cut, the deferring of retirement for a further five years, the obligation to work a minimum of 13 weekends a year, in protest of the changes that will come, and be followed by the same rules applied to us old folk, in probability before I have finished paying for the children's education.

Four relapses today, four families, four long discussions, one less choice each, compromising length for the quality of days that remain.
Four new combinations to try, one phase I trial, there is almost always a little hope left, and as they leave smiling, thanking, clutching my hand, I feel like a cheat, have we really cheated death today? or have I just led them into misguided belief?

Evenings skimming through images I just cannot comprehend
What happens to someone to make them goad their starving fellow citizens with images of their ample meals?
What drives someone to spread their poisonous thoughts along with their body parts all over so many cities in our eternally muddled east?

At fifty, his heavy heart suddenly stopped
He was in my year in medical school, and for the past two days the pages have been brimming over with platitudes, poetry and prayers for a father, a healer, another mild mannered mind lost forever

I remember uttering some of these same words, many years ago, but never did I promise a child that they would meet their parent again in some better place, never did I state that the chosen ones were spared the torture of the grave.

Hardened and standoffish, I explicitly describe what will happen in the next few weeks, potential events, and what can or cannot be done about them, trained to be true, to be open and keep no secrets, years of practice numbing me to her distress, to her silent request that this not be true, or at least not be spoken.

"She is such a pessimist" her daughter tells my trainee, "I prefer you younger doctors"

"That has become my job" I reply, "the final deliverer of sorrow"

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