The Vivid Dream:
Dream that made me cry in bed. A very bad dream. It was the last day of my friend at college as she was discontinuing due to some health issues. The bell had rung and classes were cancelled. I haven’t met her since long. She has left with another friend of mine. I run down stairs. I am crying like a lunatic. She stops at the balcony. I want to go and see her. Some one stops me from behind. I don’t stop. I go forward. She turns around, I couldn’t identify her. She has gone so weak unable to even talk or smile. She is less than half the size of what she was, mere skin and bone. I hug her, she couldn’t even hug me back. 😥 There was just a silence. I drop down crying endlessly and inconsolably. Then I wake up to find my pillow wet.
Train of thoughts:
This dream makes me wonder if I am a game for all the pain and suffering one goes through. Being a doctor, I have seen the suffering, have suppressed my real emotions and gathered the courage to show compassion and console the ill and the grieving family. Yet there have been times when I have turned blind eye and walked away being indifferent to the happening as I knew I would loose my composure and let my colleagues handle the situation. If not, could I face the such a situation without these defense mechanisms?
It hurts whenever a patient you had been close to, in just 2-3 days, becomes worse or passes away. I can’t imagine (lest that comes in my dreams and wetting pillow) the same thing about my loved ones. Hearing about those who have seen their loved ones suffer till the dooms day, walking with them, seeing them worsen daily and still feeling helpless that they can’t reduce the pain of their loved ones suffering. All they can do is to give them emotional support, which sounds ridiculous as they themselves are emotionally shattered! Still they manage to fake a smile and lie by giving word of hope to their loved one knowing the inevitable bitter truth.
That is why, I assume, experienced doctors avoid emotional trip by not getting too personnel with their patients, but only to be slandered as being indifferent and snout doctor . And the profession demands such a behavior else its difficult to face what we come across chronically on the floor. Which they try to do by being objective, faking that they are strong to face death as a normal event, use sarcasm and humor while talking to vent out the emotional burden. It puts them through so much of stress that some, not all, succumb alcohol or psychedelics. Sad, but that is the truth, thanks to high level of emotional, mental and physical stress a doctor has to go through. People think doctors are heartless, ultra practical jerks but in reality they experience high degree of emotional turmoil which they have to cope up with or it is not possible to the kind of job being done to save the life at the cost of their own mental sanity.
Yes, I have faked the strength to face death regularly and I will continue to do so. As it is said “Fake it till you make it” and it holds good for everyone. Every bit of me wants me to drop there and cry when I can’t see that kid whom I was following up for past a week, who used to greet me with a smile every morning and today the bed is empty. But I know, I have to move on. Life goes on. Back to being doctor on floor.
PS: this is straight from my diary, these are my thoughts hope not to offend my fellow medicos and others.