Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Phase in the Life: Changes... Fugues... Obsessions... Awareness... and Re-Integration

I've been away for a while.
Well, not really away like on a trip to the amazon or a stay at a monastery or something like that, but rather away from this blog and in essence away from introspection and observation of what is happening around me.
I think this happened for a few reasons that I outlined in the title.
Firstly, there have been some significant changes in my professional life (some that are ongoing as you'll see in the next few months) that go to the core of my professional identity. I work now for the most part for Catholic Health System of Long Island as Regional Director of Palliative Care.
This is a good thing.
However, it shakes my perception of myself as the rugged individualist who has a big practice on his own... an island unto himself so to speak.
This "sea change" in my professional career caused what I call a professional "Fugue State" in which for the last six to seven months I have gone about my day seeing patients and functioning, but feeling like a hamster in a wheel... running running and running and going nowhere. Granted I have been helping people all along and making those observations, but not truly thinking about anything other than keeping my nose to the grindstone and staying ahead of "the List".
Which brings me to obsessions... don't snicker, it isn't deep and dark (and by the way don't act like you all don't get them on occasion), yet I became in a minor way obsessed with a video game. An online diversion that took me, for the time I played it, away from feeling a part of the corporate machine and once again in control of myself in the form of my pixel self.
Where does awareness come from?
If I knew that I would set up a series of lectures and sell books on it... but I don't, I just know that to me awareness came as a thought in the night. I was awakened by the nurses on the Palliative unit and told that one of my long time Palliative outpatients was transitioning to the actively dying state. I handled it as he and I had agreed on and lay back to try and get to sleep. I then became aware of what I was doing... and why I was doing it. I became aware of all the patients who have trusted me to make their lives safer and more comfortable over the years... and of my own parents heading in that direction.
Suffice it to say, awareness has returned and now begins the process of re-integration... restoring "Me" to where I am... and how I care for my patients. Integrating my little obsessions into a healthy life, and most of all remembering to stop... look around... actually see what is in front of me... and enjoy the journey that I have the privilege of sharing with everyone in my life and with all of you.

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