“Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside
‘Cause you told me that I would find a hole
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals
Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see”
- Lyrics to “Roll Away Your Stone” by Mumford & Sons
It’s almost 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday. I just got home from a 24-hour work day. Sleep is a stranger. Food is even stranger.
(Disclaimer: brain fried and not functioning optimally.)
I saw patients this morning in the outpatient psychiatric clinic. Then I was on call over night on the psychiatry consultation liaison service.
Two moments today made me pause. The first one was when the psychologist on the inpatient psychiatric unit contacted me to tell me that my patient who I had hospitalized was wondering if I was okay. It turns out that I had not been able to visit her for several days, as I had been doing for the past several weeks. It didn’t immediately occur to me that this would have any impact on my patient. That was silly. Not only had she noticed, but she had started to decompensate because she was worried about me. I visited her and saw the change in her immediately. Small things. Big things.
The other moment was when I told my psychotherapy patient that I would be out of the office for two weeks and unfortunately would not be able to see her. It mattered to her. More than I anticipated. She told me I was “her rock.” Sometimes I wonder how I can consistently be a rock, when my stone rolls away sometimes as well.
I potentially could have slept and eaten on my overnight shift last night. But I ended up not being able to because of worrying about my parter who was out and about.
Doctors are imperfect. I have a multitude of flaws. Yet sometimes I have to be “the rock” when I feel more like a stone tumbling down a hill. Perhaps tumbling together sometimes is not a bad thing.
It turns out that what is true for my patients is true for me: Don’t leave me alone at this time, for I am afraid of what I will discover inside.
Photos: All taken around my hospital in the past 2 days.