Sunday, January 24, 2010

Counting down to taking off

I think this old Pearls Before Swine strip sums up my general feeling about life. Fortunately, I have a job and can manage a few days a year at the beach. Hopefully someday I'll be spending more days at the beach than I do at a job.

I'm busy this week getting ready for our vacation, putting the final touches on packing and finishing projects along with cramming as many shifts as I can possibly manage before leaving town next week. But despite the excitement of going to one of my favorite places on Earth (Spring in Texas Hill Country rates a close second) I'm in a weird funk. I think it's just January which has been cold and unusually gray here. I'm growing increasingly impatient with weird behavior from patients and their families and my skin is growing more and more thin to the point I'm not sure I can take another complaint or any more whining about the state the majority of my patients have created for themselves through physical and emotional negleself inflicted physical and pyschic neglect. There is a place deep in my soul that feels a little overcooked to the point of burnt and I am hoping and praying my vacation is a soothing balm. But if I stop and think about it I have received more compliments over the last week than I have complaints and I should probably concentrate on remembering those first. I need to remember the tears in my patient's eyes when she told me: "I wish I could hug all of you for helping me feel so very safe." and the other patient: "Thank you for listening, I do feel less anxious now." I need to make those voices shout in my head over the condescending and entitled whinging.

I love this poem and Rita Dove sums up the final moments before taking off for faraway places better than I ever could.

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there'll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs--but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby's wail and the baby's
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.
Even the lone executive
who has wandered this far into summer
with his lasered itinerary, briefcase
knocking his knees--even he
has worked for the pleasure of bearing
no more than a scrap of himself
into this hall. He'll dine out, she'll sleep late,
they'll let the sun burn them happy all morning
--a little hope, a little whimsy
before the loudspeaker blurts
and we leap up to become
Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.

Next Wednesday we will be sitting in the eighth row so just stop and say hey if you see us. I'll be the one weeping quietly, like an over excited five year old on her way to Disney World. The Girl will be the calm one, head buried in a crossword puzzle because she's smart and cool and collected like that.

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