Monday, March 31, 2008

Pop is Everywhere

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, love and prayers.

We are all healing in our own way and the help of friends and family eases the difficulty of the loss.

I have felt Pop everywhere since I have returned to San Diego. Mom found him in New York at Bryce’s baseball games. Colin hears his cane clicking along the ground to feed the dogs in the morning.

When I was home for the “Pop’s Party,” as Colin called the service, I went often into Pop’s room. Among his treasures were bowties from his square dancing days, handkerchiefs with his name embroidered on them, belt buckles, and billfolds he had made. And there were things from Ronnie, his son, his sister, his brothers, mom and his grandchildren. From me, he’d saved a tie dyed item I’d made in 1987 which still hung on his wall. On it I’d written, “you’re my sunshine.”

As I left I was afraid he would stay there and that I would need things—objects—of his to remember him and comfort me when I returned here to San Diego. I took some of the bowties and handkerchiefs. They smell like him.

But when I got back here, I found he was already everywhere. He’d already given me so much to remember him by: his great old metal tool box from the mine he gave me when I moved away to college, my set of pots and pans, the pancake recipe, notes he included with every package he sent me, walnuts in the freezer, the grilled cheese and tomato soup my neighbor suggested for lunch.

Most importantly, I found he wasn’t in the things at all. He was in the waves I surfed, he was in the car telling me to be careful, he was in the sunshine.

“May you live all the days of your life.”

Monday, March 24, 2008

Peace be with you, Pop

My Grandfather, Robert Jackson, died this morning, peacefully in his sleep at home.

He was 87 years old and lived a long happy life.

He was born in Rhode Island on February 19, 1921 and despite moving away when he was 19, maintained his New Englad accent his whole life. In fact, until I was eleven years old, I thought barb wire was pronouced "bob" wire, named after him, of course.

He started working after he completed eighth grade and worked until he retired after that.

He served as a truck driver in the army for four years during WWII in New Guinea. He told us stories about eating onions like apples and making friends with the submarine guys who had access to all the good foods.

He loved deserts; baking won't be the same without his loving and appreciative sweet tooth. Lemon was his favorite, but then again, he had many favorites.

He married my mother's mom when my mom was six. They lived in a mining town in the California desert until my grandmother died when she was only 51 and Pop retired. He lived in Arizona briefly before helping my parents buy their first house in Northern California (with all of his savings) and moving in with them in January of the year I was born.

He helped raise the three of us kids. He was always there; always kind, always Pop.

Every Sunday he made us his special buttermilk pancakes.

For those of you who knew him, you are lucky. He was a remarkable, thoughtful, loving, and kind man. He will be deeply, deeply missed by many.

I don't know any details of the memorial service or anything yet. I'm still in NYC but flying home early tomorrow morning. The rest of the family is gathering, too.

The world is a better place for having had Pop in it. For that, and for all the love he has given to all of us, I am eternally grateful.

Spirits like his do not die; he stays with many of us. He stays with me.

Peace be with you, Pop.

And with you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Surfing with the Dolphins

This morning the dolphins surfed with me!!! A neighbor surfer saw them at the same time I did and pointed quietly to make sure I saw, too. I grined broadly and giggled into the peace, watching them as they cruised past.

Mom says it's snowing in New York. I love Szilvie and Bryce enough to brave it for the next ten days of vacation, though I'd rather they come here and surf with me in the land of sunshine.

I'm pondering the choices of involving other loved ones in my life; there are compromises that come with that intertwining. I almost said "saccrifices," and perhaps at some level that word is valid, too. I want to believe that people can integrate each other into their personal hallucinations and expand each other's worlds to something larger than either would have explored alone. That's my hallucination for today. It's about choosing to believe.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Universe is Unfolding as it Should

I spent the majority of the last few nights in the children's emergency department sewing. I knew all of that knitting and crocheting I learned in some other old life would come in handy in this one. Except these nights, I sewed skin instead of yarn or buttons.

One three year old dare-devil blond girl hit her chin on the tile floor; it wasn't until I put in the last tiny absorbable stitches on her stellate shaped gash that her mom revealed that she was an OB/Gyn and she never sewed up c-sections that carefully. The chin would never look the same, but considering the injury, it looked much better.

Earlier a boy had been playing alone on the homemade swing that reminded me of our barn swing when he crashed to the ground leaving a sideways check shaped gash lateral to his left eye that required finesse and layering to repair. That one took me a while as his parents and little brother sat and watched, mourning the loss of the McDonald's toy and wondering how exactly it had happened and glad he hadn't hit his eye.

I like sewing up skin lately. I find it satisfying to repair something so tangibly broken in a profession that often exists in shades of best guesses and protocols. Plus last night, I was utterly distracted for a while for various reasons and the quiet laceration repair rooms or corners forced me to concentrate on something physical and outside of my own concerns.

The other night I spent three hours sewing up an elbow. That young man had gashed his arm on a fence and torn a large triangle-shaped flap of skin away from his arm. The skin hung by one side of the triangle; the other two sides had to be reapproximated with the point aligned carefully. Deep and superficial layers on that one, too. I lost count of how many sutures, but there were probably 40 deep sutures and between 40-50 superficial ones. I quietly stitched while the tired family joked good naturedly with their son and teased each other about women and how he was going to look like Frankenstein when I finished. I stood the whole time and my bike wreck wounds started oozing serous fluid which I could feel drip down to my toes. Disgusting, but oddly fascinating in the same way it was fascinating earlier in the night to squeeze pus out of an abscess on a little girl's thigh.

Another chin laceration last night was the most straight forward of the evening--straight edges, easily matched, seven tiny stitches. This injury had been from a razor scooter crash into a curb. The mechanism sounded uncomfortably familiar to my bike wreck the other day. The eight year old boy twirled his hospital ID bracelet as I prepared the suture kit and turned my back so he wouldn't see me draw up the numbing medicine with the big 18 gauge needle, "Are you nervous?" I turned back to him, replacing the 18 gauge with a smaller 27 gauge and kneeling down to look into his down-cast eyes. "Yes," he glanced up at me briefly.

I took off the blue non-sterile gloves and touched his hand assuring him it would be alright and telling him that if it hurt, we could fix that, too. His mom moved over to him and took his hand. I changed the subject. He's in the third grade and studying division; he's on Spring break; he has a little sister. I told him a few stories from the farm and he started to relax a tiny bit. He stopped twirling his bracelet and started twitching his feet. His grandmother had just been to visit and he'd lost his previous razor scooter. She'd given him and his sister the choice of getting a razor or a bunch of other smaller toys. His mom said he was the more cautious of her two kids and had chosen the cornucopia of smaller treasures, but his properly indulgent grandmother had bought him the scooter also. He made out well, except perhaps having to spend his Tuesday vacation night with me.

The three, seven and nine year olds are not the only one getting hurt with the warmer weather and spring starting at 9:48 tonight. Colin teased me when he called the other night that I'm a 29 year old with skinned up knees from falling off my bike. It does sound funny. So far I haven't needed stitches, though. Just sunburned yesterday when I forgot to wear sunscreen during my yoga and writing at the beach. I look like Hera got into a fight with Apollo and the latter won. My feet are burned and bloody from the wreck and swollen from the fins I used while body boarding trying to give my knees a chance to recover (-ish) from the crash.

I don't know why I'm pushing so hard again; it feels great to be out and active and not afraid anymore. Perhaps I'm making up for months of uncertainty. Doctors can really have an impact by telling people what they should and should not do. I'm supposed to wear a helmet all the time. I'm not supposed to be in the sun. I'm not supposed to get dehydrated. I'm not supposed to forget my medicine. I'm not supposed to work long hours. Blah blah blah. Doctors are the worst patients, perhaps, but who wants to be a "good patient" when all it means is restrictions. I eat well, I remember my medicines most of the time. I want to live my life. Patients do, too. Living well is a compromise--it's about making good choices. Sometimes it is on the edge of living. And people get hurt at the edges of life.

When I used to race on the ski team in high school my coach said that if I didn't fall sometimes, it meant I wasn't pushing enough. Without the occasional crash, I didn't stretch the limits of my abilities. Johnathon Livingston Seagull learned that, too.

I left my last shift last night in a funky mood. Oddly, I would miss the sewing and slight chaos and constant flow of the ER. And it means I'm switching back to medicine yet again, as a team leader for the first time, which makes me anxious. And I'll miss the peds residents; they're a friendlier bunch over all than the medicine ones. Or perhaps I just click with them better lately because I finally feel a bit more comfortable in this new (sunburned) skin again. Mom tells me, "Shine, by beautiful daughter." It sometimes comes easily when I stop trying to hard.

And I awoke to my pager reminding me of Grand Rounds this morning (and reminding me that I should have turned it off last night). Awoke thinking of people who don't think of me and forcing myself to turn on NPR for the distraction of hearing it's the five-year anniversary of starting the war in Iraq. And remembering all the people who do think of me and thinking of Pop in the hospital and Bryce after his hard game yesterday. And thinking of the waves.

I went out for the first time on my own today. I figured out how to fit the board into my car without much trouble. And I found my Harriet Lane book in the process. I turned up the music and drove too fast, "go out beyond the white breakers, where a man can still be free (or a woman if you are one)/my my my it's a beautiful world/ i like sleeping with marie/ she is one sexy woman."

When I found my book (which I'd been fretting over losing for the past few days), I remembered also that my bike chain had fallen off the other day--right in front of the store where Mike had bought the bike for me for my 28th birthday. The brakes went out, too. I stopped with my feet and rolled it into the store where they fixed it for free. Best place for it to break. I went to the beach still and wanted to write in my journal, but had forgotten a pen. A man sitting in his car watching the waves gave me one. I saw him later setting up to go kite surfing; I'd finished writing and gave his pen back.

Serendipitous occurrences like this reassure me.

I tried a new break today; much less rough than the one Bernie and I have visited the last few days. The one where I saw the dolphins play the other day. The one where I scamper out on the rocky pier to watch the waves. I jumped in today. It was easier to paddle out without the rip tide; and the waves are higher and more rhythmic; I can read them better. They still smooshed me a few times, but I'd come up sputtering and laughing to myself. I made it out "beyond the white breakers", caught a few back in; still hard to stand for me (hurt knees plus inexperience). Being out there distracts me better than sewing skin.

It is beautiful. I balance on my board and paddle around, watching for waves to catch. Sometimes I catch one. Sometimes one catches me. The seaweed makes shadows beneath the water. I play with in between my toes as I straddle the board and feel the sun on my back; it is easier to look west in the morning. My feet bleed beneath the waves but I don't notice this until I'm back showering and pleasantly weary, changing into dry clothes under the towel behind my car, still watching the ocean. I'll be back, for lifetimes I will be back.

I drive with wet hair to the thrift store where I have been meaning to drop off things that make me feel old. The man at the Frosty Freeze lets me park in his parking lot while I drop things off. The Spring Breakers who vacation where I live have not yet awoken and the streets are empty compared to the past few afternoons when I have navigated them on my repaired and well-oiled bike. They will be full later in the day and likely into the night. As I drop off the old clothes and worn out clocks, I'm peaceful from the ocean but still obscurely pensive.

And then I laugh out loud, with very little provocation. I see a razor scooter in the drop-off bin. I remember the boy smiling after I'd finished sewing up his chin and saying he was going to get rid of the scooter as I give him the syringe to use as a fancy water gun against his sister. And this tiny thing makes me laugh. Seeing the abandoned scooter, I think of pushed edges and repaired breaks and getting back up after falling; and this makes me feel that the universe is unfolding as it should. This pushes me over the edge and make me fall back into joy.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm still going surfing!

I'm working 4ps to 4as this weekend. Still managed to play a lot yesterday. Surfed! Ran out on the rocky pier. Grocery shopped on the bike. Biked all over, including the sidewalk (the herbed salad, carrots and yogurt only partially cushioned my fall). My thought soon after I hit, "I'm still surfing tomorrow!" I hobbled around the ER all night stomping out constipation one enema at a time and prying a plastic ring off of a newborn's penis with surgilube. The cops who accompanied the gunshot wounded child sniggered good naturedly at me every time I shuffled past unable to really bend my knees. Fortunately, Anya and the nurses had fixed me up with bandages and topical lidocaine. This morning, I have so far managed to get my wet suit on and will head out as soon as Bernie gets here. I think the cold water will be good for my knees; this will encourage me to not get up just on my knees on the board but rather stand all the way up. To every cloud.

Sean took pity on me and carried my groceries upstairs; he said his day had been boring before I got home. Oh good.

But determined to not let it slow me down.
After a night on my feet at work. So sexy.

This morning with the bandages off. They're looking worse.

Wet suit makes them all better!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I surfed

I love my wetsuit. I caught waves and stood up. Thank you Bernie!

I rode my bike til my legs burned and then more.

I don't feel broken anymore.

I just feel tired.

Very tired.

And healed.

It's been almost a year.

I'm back!

Because of a Crow

Because of a crow,
I am here.

As I walked to my car this morning, with my load of laundry to drop by my mom's as I picked up the directions to the desert, I heard something, "Splat, spit, splat!" A visual accompanied the noise: giant white glistening spots on my already dusty red car. I looked up at the bird with amused frustration, "Crow! Go away!" It just sat in the eucalyptus tree admiring it's handiwork on the roof of my car. I laughed.

The laundry barely fit in the trunk. It's been getting a little out of control; I've been too busy playing. Without some sort of structure at work, the possibilities for days seem endless: hiking, swimming, biking, writing, baking, driving, visiting, reading, etc. Any number of distractions. The urgency I'd momentarily shed in Spain is back. I'm squeezing everything out of the seconds I have here, not so much afraid they'll end anymore. Just a feeling of constant expectation in my chest, "What's next?"

I hold up fine until mom asks me how I am. I want someone to play with me today. Not just anyone. A happily every after someone. I mourn briefly and brush the tears behind my sunglasses before telling her about the crow and my entertaining Sunday with Jane and Dad. Dad and I watched the drummers at Balboa Park. I laughed and he smiled. I think he's forgotten how to laugh and feel it. I remember. The dolphins taught me again the other day.

Early yesterday, Jane and I giggled as we ran along the beach intimidated by the waves and the abundance of surfers. She said they looked like a herd of wildebeast and I laughed so much we didn't need the bike bells to alert people as we rode up behind them. I dove in our pool when we got back and came up sputtering, "cold!" The three of us grabbed burgers. Dad and I drove around, him afraid he's going no where, me enjoying the wandering. He left and I couldn't fix him.

When he left, I went to check in with Jane who was furious with Sean telling her girls couldn't do anything. Ben and Bob and Adam had taken her bike and the sunset promised to be amazing, so we extracted my road bike from my closet of forgotten toys (backpack, sleeping bags, snorkels, fins, frisbees, etc) and she took my cruiser so we could chase the light. We made dinner when we got back. She likes the corner lemon bars. I ate enough salad so I didn't have to take my vitamin K pill last night.

It's hot today as mom and I catch up on her used to be brothel steps outside her apartment. The pictures she's showed me of the desert might be enough. I'm not sure I'm keen on leaving the water today. Plus she says her boyfriend might take me out surfing this afternoon so I get to try out the water and my new wetsuit!

And I might have time for a bike ride. Riding my road bike yesterday, I rememberd how fun it is to go fast and have real gears and brakes on a bike. One rotation of the pedal sent me flying; I like efforts amplified. I could go for a bike ride now while the rest of the world works and doesn't crowd the bike trails. I don't want to run over small children like mom almost did yesterday. I'll go fast until I have my own; they I'll get one of those bike seats and ride with them. Helmets all around. "Cosco" in Spanish.

I could visit my cousin and hold her babies or play with her little boy, but I might not be back in time to play in the waves. And it makes me remember that I want my own. Some other time. Plus there's the crow.

Szilvie says the word "shat." It's the proper tense and everything, but it's a funny word. I think of Poe and his Ravens. Evermore.

Music in my car: "My, my, my, it'a a beautiful day/I like dancing with Marie/She says she doesn't love me/but she likes my company/guess that's good enough for me."

I can't find a car wash so decide to risk washing it with my purple bucket and sponge on the street outside my apartment. I could get evicted for this, according to Randy. I'm such a rebel. It's hard to wash in the heat; the buckets of water I throw on it steam off and the soap leaves streaks before I can splash them off. It's not a perfect car wash, but it's better. And the crow's marks are gone.

Phil comes out to smoke and keep me company. He's taken love-life advice from Sean (bad idea) and tells me again about his lost soul-mate. I tell him Mike wants to see me. He asks me what kind of guys I like. "Nice ones," I should have told him. Instead, I evaded the question; it's too much to explain. But I know better now. He's going surfing and offers to take Jane and I with a day's notice. He likes sugar cookies, I remember from my Christmas baking.

Because of a crow,
I am here.

Because of a job,
Dad is miserable.

Because of a grief,
I found friends.

Because of the timing,
Life is different.

Because of a headache,
I learn.

I learn to stop asking for "becauses." I learn to remind myself of this; and have faith "just because." I remember telling Rick I must have gotten sick because I needed to slow down and take care of myself. "Why weren't you?" I thought I was, but apparently not, since I needed reminding. I start to believe life has a plan guided by something larger. Perhaps the signs are written in poop on the top of red cars.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Saturday, March 08, 2008

I moved to So Cal

Today I moved to Southern California. I mean really moved there--let the place into my being. In a way I never was able to move to Cincinnati, or Tacoma, for that matter.

It was a So Cal day. I spent about three hours in the car; half of it on the phone half of it listening to music probably a bit too loud. I sat in traffic on my way back from Redondo Beach. I drove 240 miles. Some of it faster than my speedometer goes (110 mph)--only on the toll road really early in the morning. And I loved it.

The day was beautiful. The sun was out. The palm trees waved at me from everywhere. The resort where I went to the rhematology conference sat next to giant yahtts with well dressed men in white skipper uniforms. I learned about osteoporisis, fibromyalgia, rhemumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis while I crochetted a hat at the end of one of the white-linened tables. I left before they started talking about anti-phospholipid syndrome or lupus.

I wanted to see Matt anyway. We had a date with the beach and all I had was my work suit so I stopped by to get a sundress and hat; hoping he had sunscreen. Spring has arrived. The lupine and poppies lined the highway on the drive north. In the book I'm reading ("My Antonia") sunflowers line the prarie roads of Nebraska, legend has it the seeds were scattered by the first travelers so they would bloom the next season and others could follow in their path.

The busy southern California highways don't need such a guide, but it's lovely all the same.

Matt told me I didn't used to be so anxious about things; didn't used to be so wound up. I remember that. I liked that. I'd like to "arrive where I started and know the place for the first time" again.

We laid on the beach, catching up, then walked along the board walk among the bikini-clad girls and shirtless boys and a man selling fitness tips on his pilates machine (business was very slow). College boys were throwing the football close by and the waves wandered in rhythmically.

I called Jane when I got back in the car. I'd seen her when I left early that morning (couldn't sleep again, tried the Ambien and it just made me feel like I was on a tilt table and my arms and legs had developed elephantitis). I'd missed the whole crowd at the apartment complex. It sounded like she was at a party when I called, but really she was two feet outside her door. With the warm weather everyone had come out to play and visit. I'd missed both "Reggae Breakfast" and the pizza Doug had ordered for everyone. I didn't mind missing events so much. They sounded happy. What was touching is that they'd missed me, "hurry back!"

And, I finally got it together to earn my ticket to the waves. Jane and Joseph and Laura had been to the Rip Curl outlet earlier that day and inspired me to get a wet suit at last.

The smell of neoprene wafted out of the store where the parking lot was full of trucks with surf boards on top and the store full of tanned easy-going surfers. The smell brought back memories of snorkeling in Mexico with my family during high school winter breaks. Bobby T was alive then; he and his family went with us. He would have liked the conference that morning, too. He was a rheumatologist; when he died suddenly, his widow gave me his stethascope and a hat that said "MVP-Most Valuable Physician." It would have been nice to have him these past years.

I walked in the store and realized I knew nothing about wet suits. Well, very little. Not enough to make any sort of selection from the huge wall lined with them. I wandered around waiting for intelligence to strike and fiddled with tags that meant nothing to me. I called Jane again (for the third time--I'd needed directions, too). She said to get a women's 3/2 thickness. I got up the nerve to ask one of the salesmen. He helped me pick a couple out and I remembered the slurp of pouring into the black rubber. The first one was too big--bunched under the arms--he said. The family there buying a wet suit for their son had been following my progress also. The husband asked me to turn around again to see if it fit. I smiled at the thinly veiled compliment and returned while his wife knudged him on the arm and teasingly called him a dirty old man.

Think I might actually be tired...; going to try to take advantage of that before playing in the waves tomorrow...

Bona Note

Friday, March 07, 2008

Leaving Marks

Yesterday I sewed up a two year old girl's forehead. She'd fallen into one of her plastic chairs and the skin just above her eyebrows had split into a two centimeter vertical gash. It looked very red against the paleness of her skin and beneath her blond hair above her blue eyes that watched me warily as I came toward her with the numbing medicine and the needles. Her mother sang "The Wheels on The Bus" the entire time. Her grandmother wiped the blood and flush away before it trickled into her eyes. The cut was clean, but it would still leave a mark. The stitches I put in would leave some remnant of her crash. Her grandmother sweat under the bright light. I, for once, was calm and focused during a procedure. I'm getting so that I don't pass out as often.

The last laceration I repaired was also a forehead--of a convict. I didn't worry so much about the scar the left on him. He was held down like the little girl was papoosed, but instead he was shackled to the gurney in the loud adult ER. His guard didn't sing him "The Wheels on the Bus." I wonder if his mother would have.

The mother of a patient stopped me in the street the other day, "Doctor! Dutch Doctor right? You took care of my Mary. She is doing well," I glanced at the girl next to her, but I didn't remember her. It must have been another of her children. The mother looked familiar. I know I'd spent a lot of time with her, but I couldn't place the child. "You did a great job. We think of you often. You are in our prayers."

I woke up early yesterday morning and had time to do yoga. It concluded with putting my hands in prayer position to the "third eye center"--right in the middle of my forehead before bowing to the ground. The center I didn't yet know I would repair later that day for a little blond girl.

In the shuttle to the airport last year, another mother of a patient stopped me. I remembered her daughter. She again thanked me for the time I'd spent talking with her about her eating disorder. I remembered sitting with her and asking her what scared her. Because her eyes told me something did. They welled up and spilled over into tears that would cause her to loose just a little more weight, "Am I going to die?" She asked.

I'm going to see one of my many doctors this morning, the one who my mother stops in the street to thank for saving my life. The one who called the neurologist and who got me into the MRI before I infarcted any more of my brain. The one who first met me when I was curled up in her dark examining room with my mom afraid to touch me because every movement hurt and I couldn't talk or think beyond the pain. I still rated it as 9/10, thinking there must be something that didn't hurt this much, though I didn't know quite what. The one who direct admitted me to a private room in the hospital so I didn't have to wait in the wheelchair in the ER with the convicts waiting for their mothers to sing to them and for someone to sew up their wounds.

The Green Flash

The other day we ran out on the rocky pier together.
Dolphins played in the water with the surfers.
Surfing the waves along with them.
I giggled aloud into a silence
Shaking with sounds of water and birds and the glee of dolphins.

I read you a story about wolves eating a Russian bride.
We both cringed at the thought of it.
I put the book away.
I preferred listening to you anyway.

Conversation wandered back to the present
And you started to tell me your stories.
Sad and happy, none of them as sad as the wolves.
Sometimes you felt lonely and I wanted to take that from you,
But I have learned that it is yours
And felt only glad that you had shared with me.

You were afraid I'd slip on the big irregular rocks
As we scrambled back with the sun setting behind us.
But I am sure-footed from chasing my brothers up and down the creek.
You learn this about me.
I learn about you, too.
As you let me.

You came with me as I rode my bike home alone at sunset,
Pausing before we turned east away from the ocean to watch for the green flash.
I wondered if you saw it.
I sometimes imagine I see it,
Just as I imagine I see you.
Imagine I know you
As separate from myself.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

As the Neighbor Turns

I finished on Children's ward today, with a call shift. My co-resident and I traded covering each other's patients yesterday afternoon so I got to come home and try (unsuccessfully again) to sleep. When I got home yesterday, my ex-pro surfing neighbor Phil was sun bathing on his back by the pool. I tossed and turned for a few hours before going back to work to be up all night admitting patients (although for the the first time getting paid extra for it since I got to be the moonlighter!). It was a pneumonia/asthma/abdominal pain night topped off by a pelvic exam at 4 am. Talking to worried parents and tucking in sleepy sick kids, I walked back and forth between the rehab wing (where I always get the Amy Winehouse song stuck in my head) and the main medical unit. Sleepy before the time I could leave, I finished my paperwork and drug myself home this afternoon to shower and try to sleep (only slightly more successfully). And there was Phil. By the pool. He'd flipped over onto his stomach.