Thursday, April 16, 2009

Surviving

Sometimes I think about all the patients I see who have dead children. Some from an act of violence, some from a disease; lives full of tragedy. Recently, a woman came to our clinic as a new patient. She brought with her a box full of her medical records. She was petite and pretty with short light brown hair. She looked her age at 45 years old but she's had more tragedy than anyone should be expected to survive.

She begins her story, listing the horrible things in her life with the same emotion given to reading a shopping list. "I have hepatitis C. I think I got that a long time ago when I experimented with drugs and now I have cirrhoses of the liver."  She stops looking at the papers in her box long enough to say, "Oh and I've been treated for PTSD". "What's your PTSD from?" She continues her list, licking the tip of her index finger and sorting through her papers."One of my daughters was murdered by a boyfriend. I watched another daughter's husband being murdered in my house..." 

I turn away from my computer and look at her, in horror. I lean against the wall to sturdy myself for more. She goes on, "I was stabbed in my back by my ex-husband and then when he and I were in the car one time, he reached over and punched me in the face so many times that I've had 8 facial reconstruction surgeries. Now my ex is in prison for molesting his new wife's daughter." She smiles sometimes but never cries. The only words I could muster up were, "Oh my God." I am not only struck by the things she tells but by the emotional detachment with which she tells it. She's busy finding the papers she needs to show the doctor. She's busy surviving. 


3 comments:

Premium T. said...

"She continues her list, licking the tip of her index finger and sorting through her papers" --

Another powerful entry.

When my youngest son was in high school, he and two friends formed "The Grief Club" -- one friend's brother was murdered at age 16, another friend's father died from stab wounds & his mother had also died (I never knew the cause), and then my son's father died in a car accident. These three young men were a tremendous source of support for each other, at the tender age of 15. Heartbreaking.

As always, thanks for posting.

Molly The Dog said...

Hi Premium T. Thank you for your comment. What a powerful group your son helped to start. How great they had the strength to help each other.

K. said...

Once again, all I can say is that you are doing the Lord's work.