Tuesday, February 21, 2012

it's not fair.

i can't do this.

i can't have my heart break across an ocean.

i can't hear that she's sick. i can't hear how there's a special doctor that she can't afford. how she can no longer work. how she lays in her house helpless. 

i have so many questions for her. questions i ask my patients every day. when did this all start? where does it hurt? what makes it better? i need to know what is going on.

my mind reels...i count all the kinds of headaches that can kill you when hiv has invaded your body. she can't have one of them.

she tells me what medications they've given her. clearly they aren't working because she feels like she's been cut into four pieces.

if she were here, everything would be different. there are blood tests and ct scans that could tell what this is. there's a prescription pad in my pocket that could fix this. but she's there.

anger wells up because it's JUST NOT FAIR. 

why is she there and why am i here and why is life always so hard? why do i get a hospital bed for 3 days for a pneumonia that would never kill me while she keeping walking on red earth as her blood counts continue to drop and her body crumbles in pain? why does she have the technology to message me updates in real time, yet she still wastes away from a treatable, preventable disease? what if they can't fix this with their limited resources? what if she has to wait too long? what if i don't make it back to see her in time?

my heart cries out, how long, o lord? and as always, may hiv end. soon.

The nearest hospital, Piggs Peak Government Hospital

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a tale of three psych patients

a recent conversation turned to the subject of abuse, to the dialog and community that exists for women who know what it is like to lose control of their bodies. since that conversation, my mind keeps drifting to the stories of these three people:

he presented in raging mania. i asked what brought him in. it was 15 minutes before his voluminous speech slowed enough for me to interrupt. we backtracked to where this story began, to where he found out his twelve year old daughter had been molested by a cousin. rage burned in his eyes in the re-telling. devastated, he had withdrawn the whole of his savings. he bought a gun, rented a hotel room, and spent the rest on crack to help him "get up his nerve." somehow the plan was severed, and he ended up sitting across from me in a small room of an inpatient psych unit. his anger toward the one who abused his daughter was overwhelming. no mood stabalizer would change that.

she was transferred from the emergency department after 26 staples were placed, holding her arm together. it was one of her alter personalities who did the cutting, she assured me. her mind began fragmenting after her childhood self was subjected to horrible abuse by horrible men. no staples could piece together that kind of trauma into a whole person.

he told stories of incarceration. his ex-girlfriend claimed he "stole the love." she wanted it, he promised me. he was angry at his months behind bars, at his court-ordered sex addition counseling, at her for blaming him. no words would convince him of any guilt.

these three, they collided into my world within days of each other. they passed each other in the halls of an urban psych ward, each carrying part of the story of abuse. the abuser. the abused. the father seeking justice. all carried anger and brokenness. all needed help that medicine couldn't give.

i try to weave their stories together in my mind, hoping they will bring meaning to the atrocities of abuse that exist in the world. hoping they will somehow shine light on the healing process. hoping there is hope for each of them in their own way.