Ganked from loonyatcbh: A black and white world. We'll not get into the debate of whether good things can come from evil actions. After all, where would Christianity be if Christ had died of old age in bed?
But I don't feel like preaching today. I feel like telling you that it was a short post-call day, and O sent me home at 1 PM, whereupon I got my FedEx package and signed the papers for the loan, then overnighted it back. Now it's Angel's turn.
Coked-out girl was just as crazy this morning, but by afternoon she'd started to calm down. She was still talking too fast and too slurred to really understand well, but the bits I picked up were beginning to be relevant to the conversation.
You have a lot of little bruises. Are you popping drugs under your skin? She looks coy, not a hard thing to do when you're naked from the waist down except for a little pair of mesh panties, despite everyone's efforts. Yes, ssssssir....
She asked me for a cigarette before I left. Menthol, she wanted. Or whatever I could sneak in. I said she couldn't have any, and she went back to raving.
What happens in your life, J asks me, as we walk away from her room, that makes a sweet little girl into a babbling fool in a hospital bed? How can you do that to yourself? I don't know.
I went to Curves today. Thinking about S, all 377 pounds of him lying in bed, breathing hard because his fat is compressing his lungs and there's no way his body can support itself any other way. He's huge, he's fat, he's somehow crazy and he stinks. Schizophrenia or delusional or whatever he is, that's a psychiatry thing and I can deal with that. It's the fat and the stench that just destroy my will to go in there.
His mother is terrified of him, don't tell him she told us anything. His brother, says the nurse, is just as big as he is. He tells me he's leaving today. I say we're not confident he's going to stay well and he has to stay. He stares at me, dead-eyed. Okay? No answer. You're going to have to stay at least another day. My brother is getting me money for a cab. Those guys who beat me up and moved my truck followed him down there. There's security, Mr. S. He'll be fine. He went to get change so I can have money for a cab. You're not leaving today. Empty eyes stare at me with the flat expressionless glaze of turned stones, un-alive. We'll be back later, Mr. S. We'd like to talk to your brother. It's a serpent gaze, to malign serpents further. A gaze that frightens me.
Patients' eyes haunt me. His eyes, a gunmetal grey without expression or life, the reflection of light from their pupils merely a mechanical event, ordained by physics to be. If the light did not have to reflect, I think, it would simply strike his eyes and be absorbed or fall to the ground and shatter into pieces. Little fragments of light. The girl across the hall from him, still tied to her bed and trying to explain to me why she needs her restraints off, her eyes are grey as well, but a blue-grey, a mountain lake on a cloudy day, and I expect to see the wind riffling their surfaces. They are clear eyes, though her expression is clouded and their gaze sees things I do not, and in the moments when they darken and fill with tears as she begs me incoherently to take her restraints off, to get her into rehab, to watch out for her baby (I'll know tomorrow whether her unborn baby is fact or fantasy - we found a scar today that looks like a C-section and her mother, it turns out, has custody of a son), those eyes are heartbreaking. There are brown eyes, midnight-brown, almost black, that I shine my light into every morning to check for changes, and she has a childlike air to her that her eyes do not. They are tired, and I do not linger too long, for their weariness is catching. We had a prisoner who was outright psychotic. I couldn't look at him too long either; my stomach would catch and I could feel fear rising in me despite the restraints and the leg irons. Everything I did around him I did with the awareness of potential weapons. Everything I touched was tainted by his coal-black gaze. There was something about his eyes that spoke of rage and madness, fury and the desire to destroy, and I could feel it.
There are things that you see, notice, feel, about people. There are things you remember. I wonder how long before these memories blur into others. I know in a way that they never will, now.
We change things, O Best Beloved, and in the process of changing we ourselves are altered irrevocably. In Monday's lecture he looked around the class. How many of you have been in the room when a patient died? I raised my hand, remembering the woman on the operating table, my attempts - I don't even know why, now - to keep her arm from falling off the IV brace. So did most of the others. The rest of you, he said, looking around, will be there before this month is out.
We die in the observation of dying, and we leave ourselves behind.