Friday, January 16, 2009

More Private Practice Please

I spent the last two days surrounded by the family of a young man, victim of a non-survivable gunshot wound to the head. There was much debate about whether this was the result of the young man playing Russian Roulette or whether his tiny, wisp of a wife shot him. A debate that resulted in a few of our city's police officers being summoned to the unit multiple times.

I was told by one of the visiting teenage girls that she "didn't know a bullet could do that much damage." I didn't know quite what to say to that, but thinking more on it I can see how in certain environments bullet wounds seem rather commonplace. Like tattoos. So-and-so got shot in the arm or the belly or the leg and they got out of the hospital the next day. The finality of a bullet, even a small caliber, could very well be a new event.

We had a sweet doe-eyed student nurse working with us. We explained the location of the back exit and stairwell in case of a hullaballoo. How to call 911 from the hospital cell phones. She paid close attention to the reactions of the two C-STARS also working with us; Jerry, the RN, soon to be deployed for the third time to Iraq and Dustin, the paramedic serving with a special-ops unit. They were underwhelmed by the commotion around them and she too settled into the groove of "business as usual."

So, I've had my fill of sorrow for now. I can still see the face of this patient's father. Funny, the face of grief is so hard to describe, but so universally recognizable. You know that look immediately and it cuts straight to the heart.

After work, I kept to our routine. We had our weekly lesson in the Lindy Hop, though honestly the only place I wanted to hop was into my warm bed to watch the trampy hootchie mamas on Private Practice.
Honeymoon cystitis indeed.

Today I've spent running errands in the 9 degree temperatures and the sun is out, folks are bundled up walking along the city streets next to sleeveless cocktail dresses in the store windows. Had to go to Lenscrafters for a replacement pair of glasses for the HoneyHaired Grrrl. Her's broke inexplicably in the safe confines of her overstuffed bookbag. Cost me less than $40.00 instead of the $168.79 price tag on the frames. Oh yes, first to admit, "I work for the insurance benefits."

The oldies' station is playing a lot of Beatles from their early years--the DayTripper and Paperback Writer days and I think about my other patient, the crack-addled, alcoholic, homeless, let's run from the police for the hell of it seizure patient who, despite the events right outside his room, thinks he's at an insurance office. He looked deeply into my eyes and said, "You will always be very special to me," and then asked, "You and me--we're good?"

Yeah, Bobby, we're good. Thanks for asking.

6 comments:

  1. You can't truly be distracted and come up with a brilliant post like this one.........

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  2. Dearest Distracted,

    Holy Moly, honey, you knocked that one right the hell outta the ballpark!

    Kudos and empathy from one who wore that grief-stricken face and even noticed it in a candid photo taken when it was my turn and I was in the thick of it.

    Just a wonderful, beautiful, incisive post.

    Amitiés,

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  3. Hi Shiny. I don't know how you deal with all that grief. I could not do what you do, you are a hero.
    XOXO

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  4. I went out to drink an apple cider and have something to eat in celebration of having completed my 10 years of service credit after more than 11 calendar years as a drone in academia and as I was driving home, it occurred to me that I forgot to ask you if there was someone working for something other than medical insurance. I'm just askin'...

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  5. Well that was a rough couple of days. I don't know why people don't think playing with guns is for keeps. What a shame. My heart goes out to you. It can really weigh heavy sometimes.

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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)