I have been coughing all day, coughing nonstop it seems, unless I drink continuously. I have this sudden raving fear that I'm actually diabetic, although it's just the amount of water I'm drinking that makes me pee all the time, I'm pretty sure. I went through a 42-ounce Sprite in under 20 minutes. Nothing seems to help.
Despite the cough, saw three charming patients with viral URI's this morning. Was off a little bit with my thinking processes - kids under 2 don't get strep throat, and I know that - but handled myself adequately. Nothing stellar. I don't even remember the 40 pages I read between patients. And then a little boy with cigarette burns came in. 7 months old, his mother dropped him off at the babysitter's, and two days later (it's a complicated story) realised he was burned. Three on his belly, one above his left eye. She let all of the medical students come in and see.
Despite the sickness, the apathy, the total exhaustion that plagues me, I felt rage in my heart, impotent, useless, fury rising up inside me. Seven months old, a beautiful beautiful child - even now smiling up at us, playing with his toes, seeming almost to have forgotten the three near-perfect circles etched (second-degree burns) into the smooth brown surface of his skin; the fourth scar, not so deep, across his eyebrow. That one might not scar. The three on his stomach...he'll carry those for the rest of his life.
How, O Best Beloved? How could anyone take a beautiful baby and hold the butt of a cigarette down on his stomach - not once, not twice, but three times? How could they do it again, to his eyebrow, or maybe before the stomach? I felt like crying.
And I left on that note, walked back to my car, got in and headed for home. Stopped along the way at a Meijer to sleep for a bit, but couldn't really sleep. I couldn't breathe well enough for that. Struggled through the rest of the drive home, including the rain and narrowly missing being the car hit from behind by a truck (next lane over as I was turning). But I made it.
And now I can't sleep, because I can't lie down, because I start coughing. I'm not hungry, I'm not thirsty, but I'm compelled to eat and drink, because the cough leaves then. I called the doctors' office and have yet to be called back. I suppose that means I don't have to go in tomorrow, as I have no idea where they are. Maybe I'll sleep in, if I can get drugged enough to sleep. I'm definitely not going out tonight. Sorry, all.