So there I am standing in the pet food aisle, pondering ways to put off heading home to my dark and empty house on this cold and windy Friday night.
I could go to the gym but my gear is at home. Movie? It’s only 1800h. I could go out and have a beach walk, it’s pitch black.
I realize that I have been standing there for a while and that I have no pets.
I look into the basket on my arm, it contains one large coffee mug and a hot water bottle.
I wish I was still on my hospital rotations because that way I could just go and do a round on the team’s patients. Then I catch the fact that I just wished I could go into the hospital and round on patients that I have no responsibility for.
I sense fear creeping into my thoughts. Is this what lies ahead for me if I stay on the surgical path? Is this what will happen when I have no life outside the hospital? That my evening plans on a Friday night will include stopping at Dunnes for a coffee mug and a water bottle before heading home to work on my research project and possibly watch a rerun of Parks and Recreation?
Should I drop this basket and get on the next flight back to Canada, get married, and start having babies? Is this the last chance before the sliding-door moment goes into the ‘no life’ story versus the ‘well rounded and happily fulfilled in all ways’ story?
And I actively decide that I will not feel sorry for myself. Not feel forlorn. Not with all these gifts and blessings.
I then feel forlorn and sorry for myself.
I walk into my dark house, set down my nearly comical collection of things from the grocery store: plain yogurt, chocolate milk, hot water bottle, mug, vanilla candle.
My phone buzzes with a text from M.C.
Yesterday I discovered an abdominal mass on one of my patients in GP so I sent him into M.C’s surgical clinic on an urgent referral. The text tells me, “CT found a large colonic mass and renal mass, likely mets, biopsy, might need Rt hemicolectomy and nephrectomy. Well done you!” I feel a little chuffed (for picking it up) and sad for the patient at the same time. Amazing how egos find their way, even into devastating news for patients.
Last night when I was falling asleep I had been questioning my assessment and my decision to ask M.C’s secretary to fit the patient into an already bursting outpatient clinic. She did it as a favor to me with the warning, “if this patient isn’t sick, consider this your one and only urgent referral”. Suppose that would count as sick.
It’s late now. The house is still quiet. I am just off the phone with my mother who is also feeling lonely and out of touch with the world. The pair of us.
The wind is causing the doors on my closet to rattle and the windows to shake. I suppose it is just going to be one of those stormy nights.