Thursday, February 02, 2006

Jumble of Falling Musicians

“Nearer, my God, to Thee” was not the hymn played by the ship as the Titanic went down…The band, a brave group if there ever was one, played the “Autumn”.

The hymn ended in a jumble of falling musicians and instruments.

I read this scenario a hundred times over. But that was a scenario and this is you. You are a mother, a wife, a daughter, a provider and many people love you and they don’t want you to die. And I don’t want you to die. And you are dying. Stop dying! Please?

When I entered the room you expected me to save the day. I looked paler than my white coat. Did that make you nervous? Guess what, I was nervous. Underneath this white coat I am only human and as many times as I poke myself it still hurts, I still bleed and continue to be every bit as human as you.

Have you made mistakes before? I’ve made mistakes and continue to make them. Did your mistakes cost another life? Did your mistakes cost someone an arm or an eye? Do you want that responsibility?

Neither do I! Every day I wake with heaviness in my chest. A pressure so immense I have problems differentiating if something is truly wrong. This is taking its toll. I seem slow, groggy? I’m not really. But once you’ve made costly mistakes you really understand the importance of oversight, negligence, error. There really sometimes is only one chance to get it right.

Every day this coat feels heavier and heavier. On occasions, I want to rip it off my shoulders and leave, never turn back. But too much is invested now.

Like watching captains go down with the ship. Cue the orchestra. In many ways this coat feels like a cage.

I feel trapped in my white coat.

I wrote this piece back in November of 2004 for the Chronicles. I am republishing it here as it reflects upon this weeks' previous post.


Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

This is one reason I never tried to become a doctor. I admire you for wearing that coat.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Echo Mouse said...

I admire you for it too. Everyone who chooses to work in medicine, I don't know how they do it. Just please take care of yourself and don't expect to be super human. We lose too many good doctors and nurses that way I think.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Be human. Patient's respond well to doctors who are not afraid to show their humanity and who are honest in their assessments.

On a much smaller scale, I nearly quit nursing school six weeks before graduation because I was afraid that I was going to kill someone (it was ICU rotation). You felt trapped in your coat; I felt crushed by a cap!

As you gain in experience, the coat will lighten....even if the responsibility does not.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous kantraj said...

ya you have great experience in your life.Just please take care of yourself and don't expect to be super human. We lose too many good doctors. that's why i think.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous About Medicine Blog said...

Injuries causing loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours or post-traumatic amnesia for more than a week are considered severe.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous About Medicine Blog said...

When I entered the room you expected me to save the day.

2:50 AM  

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