Burning…

July 2018

Being a doctor is far from glamorous, it’s…

To be tired

To feel hopeless

To feel you’ve given everything you have

To know sometimes your everything isn’t going to be enough

To cry for the lives lost

To smile for the lives saved

For a sacrifice of time and energy so great your reservoir is often empty

To relive every second of what could be done differently

To in spite of everything thank God for the skill he’s blessed you with

To know that with the tank on E you’d still get up and do it all over again

For the love:

Of medicine

Whatever idea people have of being a doctor in their minds, I promise you that unless you’ve laid your heart on the floor in this exact fashion you have no idea how it feels.

I love what I do

I’ve always tried to live an authentic life in service to others and God knows that’s why I’m a doctor, but within my first year of my profession I knew instinctively my life would never be mine again

I’ve relied on my friends, family and significant other to all understand that though I love them, one of my first loves is completely unforgiving in leaving room for anything or anyone else

My job

But sometimes I mourn not being normal

Sometimes I wonder about life on the other side

How would it feel to work 8-4 daily

The expectation of what Friday brings

Having set gym times

Being able to take up a dance class

To have the room to find a greater love

To just exist as Lynn

I did know the sacrifice of time, of energy…sacrifices family and friends would have to make for me

I just didn’t realize that part of me would die too

There’s never a minute I don’t think of a case I’ve seen, a patient I’ve helped, the ones that slipped away

I have become medicine but …I don’t want that

I want it to exist as a function of who I am. Like any other body part to find its place and its function, and I guess that’s what has brought me here…to leaving my job

It took me a while to realize my destiny isn’t tied to my first job or the hospital I work at. I used to live my life in so much fear until I realize that wasn’t living at all

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That was a real, raw, exhausted, burnt out me back then in 2018. A lot happened since that time but we’re going to make a major fast forward…

April 2021

Just like that the first quarter of 2021 is done. It’s been a quarter spent in pandemic and self-imposed isolation apart from work. At this point I don’t have to tell you how it is. I feel like we all are singing in the same choir, in the same simulation even if we’re singing different parts.

Last year was more of a ‘when COVID-19 ends’ for me. With this particular tsunami this year I was determined to protect my mental well-being from feeling like I was losing chunks of my life.

Introspection….elevation …equanimity…intention…those have been the guiding words of this period.

But shadows…

I started doing a class on Mindful Self-Discipline by Giovanni Dienstmann and in one session he spoke about balancing virtues. Every virtue we seek he said, is a psychological asset, but has to be tempered otherwise they can cast shadows on your life.

The most profound example I can give is the one that brought me here, back to old scribblings, back to this blog. (Well y’all reading know I never actually came back in April, it’s August 22nd now and it’s anyone’s guess if I’ll actually post this) Compassion and empathy, some of the best virtues. It’s how we relate to each other, feel, learn, stretch, grow but even the best of virtues can cast…shadows.

What shadows can compassion and empathy ever cast?

Burnout.

And that’s where I’m at.

Burnout particularly among emergency physicians was the basis of my post-graduate thesis. I know what it is, how to prevent it, the measures that work but I’m not immune in anyway. No one really is. The empathetic switch needed from patient to patient , the repeated exposure to traumatic events..those are just two reasons why healthcare workers particularly in emergency rooms are most at risk for burnout.

To say I’ve had a rough week is an understatement. I’ve cried with patients, family members, colleagues, and this is apart from anything COVID related. I’ve felt low, I’ve felt defeated.  It took me back to a time where I was driving home from work in 2018, pulled my car over on a lonely cart road and started writing on a loose piece of paper. Crying and writing, writing and crying after a resuscitation filled shift. That’s the shadow.

I’ve always toyed with if to share what I wrote then here but in everything, we all need to know we’re not alone.

To the doctors, nurses, paramedics , EMTs, ERTs, orderlies…just know that past all the frills, you are actually seen.

You are seen for your light, you are seen for your shadows, and I am eternally grateful every day to call you colleagues.

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it NIV

Selah,

Published by Love.L

Lynn is a 30-something Caribbean woman on a quest to live her most authentic life, constantly evolving. Believing God as the sweet architect of her life, she lives for days filled with love and laughter. As for those bad days, she sees them as opportunities to grow and glow. If she had to use one word to describe herself: resilient, and she hopes to build up a sisterhood of strong, invincible women...to inspire and be inspired. This wanderlust spirit who loves her chosen career path, enjoys reading, working out and lots of quiet moments.

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