Tuesday, July 28, 2009

if you want me to break down and give you the keys

I want to write of the things that I knew before I was born, the things that were predetermined, the things that everyone in my family knew but never dared to speak aloud. But of course, I am just another member of my family, the same tongue-tied inability to articulate cramping my fingers, constricting my throat.

Instead, all I can write is that the closest semblance to a sister I've ever had- not an older sister to look up to or a younger sister to dote upon, but a true sister- is not well. And from 2000 some odd miles away, there is very little I can do. Even were I there, it's likely there is not much I could do. Which is immensely frustrating given what I've been doing with my life for the past three years.

What I really want to do is write about her, but I feel as I have always felt about her. Fiercely protective. I often have little shame when it comes to writing, but I would not cheapen her by telling her story, especially through my eyes.

All I can write is that I am one of three. One never made it, one fought for every breath, and one was me. I doubt anyone knows that, I doubt anyone sees the connection. I am not my parents' child. I am one of three, and I have never lived up to it. And if she goes now, I don't know how I'll ever make amends.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

tired of talking, talked out, ticked off or toughed up

I've been following the laws of physics lately, and thus, this blog has been getting the shaft in favor of sleeping, eating, and passing this forsaken rotation.

I haven't bothered writing about these rotations because I don't feel like boring everyone to tears with that babble, and besides which, being immersed in it as much as I am, it feels as though it is hard to write sensibly about it. I need some distance which is not really possible at the moment. I can say that it sometimes feels frustrating, sometimes feels triumphant, sometimes feels important, sometimes feels trivial, sometimes feels like medicine helps people, sometimes feels like medicine is in vain. I have worked with physicians that are admirable and some that are not so admirable. I have watched behaviors that I would like to emulate, and others I would rather avoid. I've been told that I should be a surgeon, and I've also been asked, "you're not interested in surgery, are you?"

For the record, no, I am not interested in surgery, not even vaguely. This rotation has been great, though, in that it has made me properly respect surgeons and confirm that it's work best left to others. And it's just an interesting unfolding of life or lives before your eyes. People minding their own business when they were hit by a car and are now stuck in a hospital bed for months with fractures and complications. Gunshots and stab wounds, alcohol and methamphetamine, the suicidal and the demented. There aren't that many opportunities in life to see that sort of cross-section of the world.

The only thing that's truly felt like torture is having to interact with some of my more difficult classmates, who have started to exhibit that classic medical school attribute that I like to call "I will stab you with a shiv first chance I get if I can do so while improving everyone's opinion of me." It is the innate characteristic that makes my stomach turn about students. It's not across-the-board, but all it takes is one student like that to really annoy.

But even that has been an opportunity. Such clowns will never go away in life. There is no one field populated by well-intentioned sweethearts. The key is not to let the a-holes get to you. I've been able to manage by refusing to rise to the bait, and also by recognizing that it's not worth it to me to engage in that fight.

That's the thing about being a middle-distance runner. You have to decide which race you wish to run, which mark you want to meet. I used to think, when I was younger, that you had to push yourself until you were the best, better than everyone else. But that was a long time ago, and I've seen how that kind of drive comes at a cost. I am starting to think I will be okay without losing who I am. That seems the thing most worth fighting for.