Saturday, November 28, 2015

I ended up with a cold this past week.  Strangely, the depression has lifted.  I'll have to pay more attention next time I feel depressed to see if it is linked to a cold or some other infection. 

This photo is where I walk down by the river most weekends.  It's covered with snow now, although the snow is rapidly melting today.  I love the trees, the water and most of all the dogs.  It's an off leash area and happy dogs are everywhere.

I'm finding work more difficult lately.  Two of the big guy's friends have wives who are dying of cancer.  My patients are dying.  At times it seems I am surrounded by death.  I struggle to remember we are all dying.  That the trick is to live up until it's time to leave.  I know too much.  I watch a young woman with two young daughters get on the CT scanner and when she's done I see the tumors that cloud her lungs and wonder how she isn't short of breath.  Or the elderly woman yesterday who was in so much pain and then the radiologist and I looked at her x-ray and saw the tumor pushing out of her bone, pressing on nerves.  Or the man my age who has lung cancer and I saw his MRI scan and his brain is filled with small tumors. 

I don't know what to do with all this knowledge.  Don't know how to lay it down and leave it so that I can go on and do my work and live my life.  Nature helps the most I find.  To watch the trees letting go of their leaves.  The geese flying south.  The moon rising.  To remember that life is life and death, night and day, spring and fall.  The important part is to remember to love while we are here.  That's what I can give my patients I guess.  Agape.


  1. That is a wonderful vocation, but it also must be a heavy load to carry. I hope you do find a way to leave it at work and keep your private life for living large. Glad to hear that nature helps. I imagine meditation might, also.

  2. I think what you do, what you do so well, is something only an HSP can do. Others can do it but not with so much love and compassion. Do you find that everyone benefits from your sensitives but you? I know HSP's get so much out of art, music, nature and deep friendships but most give more than they take. I recently started going to a counselor where I am trying to let me sensitivity walk beside me instead of in front of me where it leads or behind me where it pushes. There is no way I can turn it off so I need to learn to have it part of me without exhausting me and getting me depressed at the hugeness of it all. When I stopped working nights and left palliative care I thought I would start to feel better. It haven't. Now I am dealing with so much sickness and I try so hard to make at least one small part of their day better but most of the time I am at a total loss and come up short.
    I think all you can do is make this terrible time of death and dying the best possible experience. You can't change facts but you can make the process lighter. Are you able to take on the knowledge that you are making perhaps the worst experience of their lives a little less worse than it needs to be?
    As usual, I am rambling. I am walking the exhausting journey beside you. I am so grateful for you, Deb because there are a lot of caregivers out there that have no idea what I am talking about. But you do. You know that we *need* to do this kind of work. We would be lost working at the mall because what we do calls to us. You also know the pain and the exhaustion and the never ending fight for balance.

  3. It sounds like an endless nightmare. I admire you for caring so diligently and lovingly all these years -- a job that not all could possibly handle as you do. What I DO know is that every time I get sick with a cold or a virus, I am depressed, too, and I don't struggle with depression usually. I think there must be a CNS component to many viruses, no?

  4. compassion - for the people you work with AND for yourself.

  5. I've often wondered how you manage. But then, both of us are medical professionals. You sort of learn to set your feelings aside, yes? But, this is tricky because if you get too good at it, you begin to allow this learned skill set to invade other areas of your life, too. Or, at least I did. I found that I was curiously able to detach from my emotions at nearly any time I wished. It proved to be more of a hindrance than a help at times. When I was in chemo, I do have to say that I saw more people who loved life than I ever saw anywhere else. When your fate is up in the air, you find that life takes on what all the poets say it is.