Driving home last night after a twilight shift. Half three in the morning, dawn edging the east, roads empty, and I’m tired. I’m worried about one of my patients, and I’m midway through a 7-day run of highly antisocial shifts. They tell us that we aren’t paid enough to worry, and we should hand that worry on to others who are. Nice idea: doesn’t always pan out. I twitch my foot on the pedals and feel the sudden pull of acceleration, try to leave my concerns in the dust. That clearly also won’t pan out, but speed begets concentration and it helps.
It’s not always like that – I couldn’t exist in a state of perpetual fear. It’s a relative rarity to feel troubled, although I’ve gone back to A&E pushed by all-consuming anxiety in the past. Normally it’s good, and only one night prior I drove home in torrents of rain and felt great. I was confident in what I’d done, happy, and I loved my job. No light without shadow.
There are moments when you hear a line or a lyric that takes on a new meaning for you. Braking into a bend I hear such a moment on the stereo. It twists my mouth into a smile for a moment. I remember that there’s no way you can see, diagnose, treat a thousand people and not have any misgivings. That way lies inhumanity. As the song continues, every line seems purpose-built for this moment, these thoughts, this situation. I think about my patient, my job, my life, my collegues and friends, the A&E team, and I drive home.
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on