Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turning to breathe

I don’t sleep well anymore.  The moment I crawl into bed, the dread of next morning’s alarm is already sweeping over me.  It is an awful feeling, but the alternative is to experience a slow defeat under the weight of my own eyelids—two foes that swiftly subdue and then mock me by planting my nose into the spine of every textbook.  So I choose the former dread over the latter mockery.  But then I don’t dream well anymore.  My dreams are less dreams and more frightful fits of anxiety.  In my dreams I confront the shadowy thoughts I’ve suppressed during the 75-hour work week—the dirt stirred up by the crashing waves of my subconscious.  Here lies the sadness of ailing patients.  Here lies the disapproving looks from attending physicians.  Here lies my frustration with derisive team members.  My anger at sub-standard medical care.  My fear of becoming jaded.  I wake intermittently throughout the night, always turning instinctively to glance at those four glowing digits to make sure I have not overslept.  Then in the brief conscious moments before I sink back to slumber, I swim in the softness of my pillow and allow myself to be embraced by the warmth beneath my comforter.  In that sacred space between bed sheet and blanket—between anxious meditation and malignant awakenings, I maintain a grasp of what I know is still good.  So as my nights grow darker, my grip gradually tightens around these moments of peace.  Waiting for the next alarm to sound.  Really, waiting for anything to signal the dawn.

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