Every few weeks, usually after when I deal with over 200 patients in a single day or over two days the utmost, a certain piece of my machinery breaks. Around patient number 152 I can feel the blow jogging that piece out of place and around the 167th patient, I can hear it hanging by a thread and then soon by patient number 198..I hear a pop as it flies out and I know I have broken down. I see two more people and run outside as fast as I can, holding myself together so I could glue another piece in. If I get so lucky to find it.
I don’t, usually.
This morning, around 3:35 in the morning..I felt my back break. The entire week came crashing at me. All my emotions, all my buried baggage came spilling out as I sobbed on the deserted footsteps of the casualty operation theater. I wanted to leave. I wanted to run away. I wanted to dig a hole in the very cold marble I sat on and disappear for a while. My shoulders shook with all that was pent up within me as it just poured and poured and poured. And then the wind started to blow. And a dust storm rose, stinging my swollen eyes and settling upon all my wounds.
Right then, someone tapped at my shoulder and I looked up. It was my patient with acute exacerbation of asthma I had managed an hour ago. He had tracked me down to the last place I could be and wanted me to recheck him so he could go home. And perhaps, would I be so kind to check his mother’s blood pressure?
Of course. I’d be right down.
The patient left and I slowly walked down the stairs back to meet my colleague who had been covering for me for the last 10 minutes. Feeling started to return to my numb toes and dust ridden eyes as I sat down to check patient number 201, smiling and making small talk. I could feel the glue drying up and the machine whirring.
Come at me, now, oh dear pain.
I got stamina.