Emerging from the emergency room, gasping to find my breath, I weep.
My patient had hypovolemic hyponatremia
His serum sodium was low, and we all need salt in our blood to live
Overall, he was dehydrated- dry, though his blood pressure was high
I looked at his moist tongue, and didn’t see the storm clouds amassing in the sky
Until my attending physician came thundering down
Pummeling my eardrums with his voice so loud
Taking lightning strikes at my fledgeling ego
Making me feel scared, small and trapped
How dare I not approach this case the same way he would
How could I take a vast constellation of data points, and see a different image than him?
How dare I not know everything he wants me to know when he thinks I should know it.
The audacity of me!
I went into this job to help people, but who helps me when confronted with an abusive boss, the way I am all day every day?
I have grit, and that’s it.
How can I justify the harm I inflict on myself by trodding this path of not harming others? Am I not also a person worthy of non-harm?
I drag myself through another day of sheer exhaustion, violent levels of stress, junk food scavenging, flooding my veins with the same poison I encourage my patients to avoid.
I practice this art of self-abuse day after day, year after year.
I don’t have the time or personal space to cry, until many hours have passed by, and my work, imperfectly executed, is temporarily done.
Tomorrow, more work will come at a nauseating pace, in unpredictable swells and storms.
Tonight, I cling to the knot I’ve tied at the end of my rope.
At home, my partner speaks to me, but I do not hear him.
He softly reaches out to me, but I do not feel his touch.
He serves me dinner, though I do not feel hunger.
I try to breathe through my shell-shock, remind myself that I am safe, worthy, lovable.
As if concussed, I feel foggy, irritable, and want only to cry.
I close my bedroom door, and I finally let my tears fall, though I don’t know how they will ever stop.
I take stock of the things I am grateful for.
I have energy to release:
I visualize a cord of light between my attending physician and I, solar plexus to solar plexus, and I send his rageful, toxic energy back to him, riddled with his scathing judgement.
I send him back the shame he so generously tried to pile on me.
That is his energy, not mine.
I feel the sting of tears as they dry on my cheek- my personal Sahara.
For a minute there, I lost myself.
I feel raw, delicate.
I cried so much, I have lost volume and salt like my hypovolemic hyponatremic patient.
This time, I know the recommended remedy: fluid.
Keeping myself fluid, I bow in respect and gratitude to the teachers on my journey- those who still trick me into believing that I am lesser-than, who make me temporarily forget that I am a dreamer in this cosmic kaleidoscope.
I bow with respect and gratitude to water, and salt.