Monday, May 21, 2007

Merciful Monday

More than a year ago, I titled a post "Oh! Merciful Monday!" I decided this evening that the very same title is the most appropriate for today's missive, hence this updated edition with basically the same name.

For reasons both within my ken and without, the week began not with a bang, but rather with a whooosh, onomatopoetically speaking. True, the telephone rang incessantly, the emails came and went, the home visits, office visits and hospital rounds happened as they will, but it all came together without a sense of urgency or harried overwork. (And we even slipped in a 80-minute lunch meeting on HIV at a local restaurant.) Thus the wooosh rather than the bang.

Looking back on that previous post of the same name from December of 2005, one of the striking moments from that memorable day was my trip to the bargain store to purchase an alarm clock for a patient who was under investigation with social services due to her young children constantly missing school, and always due to her inability to wake up early in the morning. Interestingly, children also figured in today's events, or rather one child, at least.

I visited a patient who has a ten-year-old granddaughter with whom I have a sweet and tender connection. Since she has spent a large portion of her childhood living with her grandmother, I have gotten to know her over the years. At six years old, she could hardly read a word of English or Spanish, and I pushed quite vehemently for her to be enrolled in school, occasionally rewarding her with gifts for good educational progress. Due to her mother's drug abuse and other regrettable habits, this lovely young girl is now a ward of the state and in foster care. My patient is fighting for custody and I offered to write a letter of support in that effort, and plan to celebrate with them when she is finally allowed to live with her grandmother. No doubt she may be traumatized by her foster care experience, separated from her siblings, her troubled mother, and her loving grandmother. I felt tears form in my eyes as I heard my patient's recounting of the situation, and I told her that I would do anything in my power to assist her in winning permanent custody.

Despite this small drama, and the busy environment of the office, my head remained clear and the day unfolded gently. Even computer glitches couldn't ruffle my feathers. (It must be the Prozac. Or perhaps the Laughter Yoga?)

Does my cynical side expect a "Tumultuous Tuesday" following a gently merciful Monday? That other shoe may be ready to drop, but why expect it to do so? Tuesday will be what it is, and no amount of cynical worry will mitigate that possibility. Conversely, a positive frame of mind about tomorrow's possibilities could indeed lay the groundwork for yet another day of equanimity and
balance. As far as choices go, it's a pretty clear no-brainer.

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