Son Josh called and I gave into my own depression. I had gotten the mail and the first advertisement on the stack of mail was addressed to Lin, and the largest lettering in this advertisement said, "LIFE BUILT AROUND YOU." This made me very, very sad. A real estate ad, no less, going to the heart of the matter.
Well, I got no calls about a change in her condition through the night. No news is good news. I know she has the best doctors in the best hospital in our area. I know they are going slow with extubation, and I know that decreased urine output after septic shock, even if it goes to acute renal failure, is reversible almost all the time.
I know that high liver enzymes following shock are usually reversible. But I know too much, and I have to remind myself that I can't will her to be well. I'm just a very interested observer in an existential drama, but that's just the human predicament. There is this overwhelming drive to control the uncontrollable and the frustration that comes with the realization that this is an impossible goal. How different to be a knowledgeable spectator than an actor.
I'm at home because Lin had arranged for our newly refurbished bathroom to be painted. So it will be painted, and she'd better be home to enjoy it. The shower doors come tomorrow. I was so damn depressed that I didn't get the minivan washed this morning. I'm carrying around Lin's bracelet and watch in my pocket.
I will be better when I submerge myself in patient stuff. I can do that as a professional, as a physician.
The trouble with being a loving husband is that I'm also a physician and I know too much. I can't just believe. I'm back to 1967 when my 59 year old mother who had worked so hard to put me through medical school, was in the Kaiser Hospital on Sunset Boulevard dying of lung cancer, and I had just opened my first medical office, the fruit of my parents' labor, and my mother would never see the office. My father, a truly religious man, kept asking, "Why, God? Why Sybil?" And his son, the atheist, the doctor, could only hold a grieving man, and could never accept the helplessness as the cancer slowly strangled his mother. My wife will be 59 this year, in April.
As my daughter once reminded me, in jest, when I went off to the hospital on rounds, saying, "Got to save lives." Back came the reply, "Saving lives is highly overrated." She was kidding, and it was funny. A doctor's family pays a big price for professional values, and material reward doesn't mean a heck of a lot when a father and a husband is drawn away for those values. It's been a great medical career. And I've saved a lot of lives or tried pretty damn hard for all the old fashioned right reasons.
If there is a God, he fucking owes me one!