thick skin

October 19, 2012

It was a long week – the kind of week that feels like it’s going by quickly, then on friday you can barely remember what happened tuesday.

I don’t remember what happened tuesday.

My last patient went home today. I picked up 4 more. One woman refuses to eat or drink or talk. She had a kidney removed a month ago, and only speaks spanish. Another patient was just diagnosed with hepatitis C, plus his kidneys are letting protein out of his body when they shouldn’t. He has huge areas on his legs where the skin has come off. A third patient, about my mother’s age, has HIV and breast cancer that has metastasized to her bone (we think). She goes to surgery on Tuesday. And, an 80 year old man from Italy fell off a ladder and has bilateral pelvic fractures.

Outside of the hospital, the residency application process consumes most of my headspace. Meaning, I check my email for program interviews every three minutes. I feel nervous anytime there’s something in my inbox. I need to relax. Two very special shoutouts to two Alexes (CBA and Yevcha) for keeping me calm this week.

When I was a teenager, I assumed people lost sensitivity as they aged. Adults seemed to cry less, and lacked the melodrama of adolescence. I looked forward to the day when I would be so mature. Skin gets thicker with time. I was sure. But, apparently, the thickness of skin doesn’t make it any less sensitive. Maybe tough skin simply contains emotions better, allows us to control our reactions. What do you think, reader?

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2 Responses to “thick skin”

  1. Yevcha Says:

    one possibility is thicker skin lets less through, but the stuff that does get through stings more. in my experience having thicker skin doesn’t mean crying less.. though i agree it helps control reactions

  2. Miriam Says:

    In some ways I’m less sensitive, in other ways more. I think I still brood too much!

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