Saturday, October 18, 2008

trudged back to where the car was parked

So, it's happened again, and I don't know why I'm surprised. This time, that's what I've learned. It's no longer about recognizing the signs of the clouds coming on fast, no longer about knowing that I'll have to wear a raincoat for a while, no longer about realizing that there will be sunlight again.

This time the lesson is that there is no cure for this. What I dislike most so far about my medical training are the cases we see in clinic that end with us telling the patient there's nothing we can do. Even if the condition won't resolve on its own, there's nothing to be done about it- that's probably the worst of the lot. There was a patient who came in with a pterygium on her eye; her boyfriend had coaxed her into coming to the doctor because he thought it was getting unsightly. The patient was expecting to be given some eye drops or undergo some procedure to be rid of it. Instead, the doctor told her that it was harmless and that, until or unless it began encroaching on her vision, surgery would not be advised.

And that's how I feel about these vortexes that swallow me up from time to time. Not much to be done about them, relatively harmless, and until it starts creeping into bad behavior territory, hard to feel any sort of intervention is necessary.

I woke up this morning and knew the center would not hold much longer. Something gripped me, and I knew it was exhaustion. Preemptive exhaustion, because I know what comes next. It takes a lot of energy. So little energy to fall into chasms, so much more work to climb the sheer stone wall up. Even when I know all the steps, even when I've hiked up this mountain before. There's a component of Sysiphus to it, because it's just a matter of time- the rock will fall down the hill, and I'll have to push it right back up again. And there's a component of sheer weariness. I know how much it will take, how sore I'll be at the end of this trek.

There is no alternative though, it's the business of living, after all. And it will feel better up there, in the dizzying, cold, thin air. I suppose there is this. Every time, it feels like the same climb, but every time, the precipice is completely different. This isn't the sort of life for everyone, but up there at the top, I own my life completely, all its twists and turns, all its fortunes and follies, all that it has and hasn't yielded. Up there, it looks like mine. And every time I fall again, I'm still carrying that with me. It's in there somewhere, misplaced like some old letter that was packed in the moving boxes. All just a matter of time.

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