Monday, May 2, 2016

I Pulled on Trouble's Braids

I pull on trouble's braids. I diagnose the enormous vertebral artery aneurysm, the unalterable dementia, the untouchable pain and the metastatic cancer. What kind of cancer, you ask? What does it matter, I know them all. Disease brews in all shapes and forms and pulls on trouble's braids. Eosinophils gather and gather in my own blood and wreak havoc, along with antibodies that fuel the fire that puts me in my place, unable to run, unable to play Beethoven, only concentrating hard on the well being of those I serve.

I pull on trouble's braids, asking the healthcare system for more than it wants to give, both for myself and for those I treat. The ridiculous expenses, the misguided goals, the unrealistic expectations all threaten to extinguish my dedication but they won't, at least not to to others and at least not today. My medical school loans will be paid off by age 65 or so and I think every penny was worth it. I know how to stay one step ahead of trouble.

But I pull on her braids. Just like that kid who sat behind me in 3rd grade. We met on the playground at recess and in those days no teacher lurked at every corner to micromanage every interaction. 3rd grade boy no longer pulled my braids. But grown up trouble has not been able to catch me at recess just yet, probably in part because on my proverbial recesses I curl in a ball and lick my wounds and try to talk my eosinophils off the ledge or back into their box.

Trouble's braids bite back. But I know the sweet tune to lull them so I am unafraid. As I have taught my children,  compassion is the greatest power. That tune lulls the worst kind of trouble. Compassion, compassion. Compassion for others, and for oneself.

I pull on trouble's braids, fighting for the most vulnerable. It is what my parent's taught me, and so I do it.

I pulled on trouble's braids, and took up a sport some say ruins the knees. Some say running too far can damage the heart, the feet, the vertebral column. Ask Ms Ida Keeling about running and I think her opinion might differ. Trouble probably just lets her pull on its braids, no questions, no complaints.

I pulled on trouble's braids, and I lived to see another day. I found solace in the arms of those I love. I laughed at the jokes my elder patients told me. I fought side by side with the disenfranchised to get them the care they deserve, or don't deserve, because care should be unconditional. I curled up into a ball and prayed for someday soon being able to run, to play Beethoven. To play Bach. To play Chopin, To play.

I pulled on trouble's braids. I pulled on trouble's braids. I pulled on trouble's braids.

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