Remember this guy?
Yeah he sent me a Facebook friend request today.
*rubs forehead, sighs and moves on*
Remember this guy?
Yeah he sent me a Facebook friend request today.
*rubs forehead, sighs and moves on*
It was 1 am. The lights of the night sky filtered through my window onto my bed. It was March, but Winter and Spring had yet to make up their minds about which one of them was on that night. The air was cold, but it was cozy under my covers. I had to wake up at 4:45 the next morning. But I did not care one bit. I was happy, peaceful, content, as I lay on my side, my back against his chest, my head resting on his arm. He held me tight, his fingers absently running across my bare skin. He had just put on his favorite Selena song on iTunes. The one he used to listen to with his brother growing up. He pushed my hair behind my ears. I don’t remember what he was talking about. But I do remember that he frequently paused, to plant tender kisses on the back of my neck, my cheek, my forehead. I smiled with each one, my eyes closed, my soul warm.
Then he sang along.
“Dreaming all tonight…
Till tomorrow and for all of my life
And there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be
Than here in my room dreaming with you endlessly..”
His voice was broken, soft, almost breathy. As if he was whispering a promise. Like the ones he had done earlier in the evening.
“Will you marry me?” He had asked.
I had nodded fervently, through tears. How could I not? How could I not give this wonderful man and his son all the love in the world? They had been through so much. I have always thought of myself as having an infinite capacity for love. And they deserved every bit of it. “I will move anywhere, with you”, he had said. “It will be you, me and E from here on forever.”
It was perfect.
The kind of perfect that made me giddy and scared at the same time. ‘Cause I knew it was not going to be this way always. I knew there was most likely going to be a lot of hurt in our future. But I did not want to think about all that for now.
‘Cause for now, my heart was doing cartwheels.
You know, I really need to write about him. I mean, he’s all I think about all day.
No, its not romantic. Its annoying really. Because most of the thoughts are perplexities. Is that a word? Yeah, seems like it – I don’t see any grammar lines.
Am I really only in this relationship because he is an amazing kisser, and I just really really like being kissed? And kissed well, may I add – he does the whole ‘looking deeply into your eyes, framing your face with his palms, kissing you, tenderly at first, then passionately, then pulling back, looking into your eyes again, smiling as if you are the last fucking woman on the planet, while pushing your hair back from your face’ move that guys in movies do. So yeah.
Well, to be honest he also is great at hugs. One of my favorite moments with him is every time he comes over and I go downstairs to let him into my building – he walks in, his jacket all wet from the rain or snow, smiles, looks me in the eye, kisses me tenderly and then hugs me tight, as if he never wants to let go. In his arms I feel all my stresses of the week melt away, as I hold onto him for dear life…
..for who knows when I might see him again.
And that’s the problem here. He disappears. For days at a time. No calls, no texts. No nothing. Well, not nothing. I can see he’s using my Netflix so that’s there:/ So its not like he is busy working or with his son. As I write this I can picture Jared Freid shaking his head at my typical-girl-naivete. I really should be breaking up with this guy shouldn’t I? He really is just fucking around with me isn’t he? Ugh. Ok I’m gonna do it. Maybe the next time we meet, whenever that is.
*30 seconds later*
But he said he loves me! What if he meant it? What if he actually meant every single thing he has said so far. The things that make it so fucking hard for me to let go. The things that every woman hopes her guy says to her like one, two or in my case with S, seven years into the relationship? And its been barely a month. He wanted to be exclusive on day two – “I don’t like the idea of you spending time with a guy you meant to have a date with, even if you are not interested anymore, but you are free to make your own decision, and I will always respect your choice. But just so you know, as of this morning I cut out all the people I had been talking to and cancelled any dates I had planned, cause this is important to me.” Okay then, so that’s decided. He said ‘I love you’ on the third date. He said ‘you are the girl I’m going to spend the rest of my life with’ on like day fucking fourteen, I think? “I know you don’t see it, but you are going to be my wife one day, I promise. You’ll see.” Well, cue swoon I guess.
I was teasing S about it the other day, saying maybe the universe is making it up to me for him not proposing for a decade by having all these guys be talking marriage in two weeks. First V, now J. I mean yes, a former me would have taken all this at face value. But well, you know by now I’ve been burned enough times to be vary of all mush. The Betches always say when a guy moves too fast, that’s a red flag. He just is saying whatever it takes to sleep with you. Also, guys can say a bunch of bullshit and it doesn’t mean anything apparently. Its what they do that matters. And so far there has been zero effort from his part. Well not zero. He does have to drive 40 minutes to get to my place. But that’s the thing – after our first date there have been no ‘dates’ – there’s only been do-you-want-me-to-come-overs? Ugh. I am so fucking stupid.
Unless you count that one time we went to IHOP after sex. Which I highly recommend by the way. Or ordered Mexican. See that’s the thing – whenever I am with him its really fun. I mean, I am not even kidding, but we made out for a solid hour in the middle of a Women’s Rumble Watch with pro wrestlers looking on, for our first date. I don’t think most first dates are that exciting. It definitely is not the kind of intellectually superior back and forth that gets me going usually – and that’s another red flag. Would I be bored out of my mind in two months? Once the initial infatuation fizzles out? Although, I’m not even sure there is infatuation here. I mean, I do really really care for him, and love him in a way. But am I ‘in love’ with him?
Then of course there’s the part of me that’d rather me be the one who’s hurt. After S and V, I know that breaking up with someone is particularly hard for me. I don’t have it in me to hurt someone who loves me like that, and I’m not trying to be a saint when I say that. Its almost selfish – I just cannot deal with the guilt. So I think, the ideal scenario here would be for him to like ghost me or whatever. That would suck, but also would be for the best.
Which might actually happen, considering I haven’t heard from him since Tuesday morning.
Ok so that’s decided then. I am not going to reach out. I’m going to pull back, wait for him to come to me. If he wants. If not, well at least I got laid at 28.
So yeah I really don’t know where to start. Its been a while I know, and obviously that is because stuff happened. Stuff I am trying to process. Its been so emotionally exhausting that I don’t even have the energy to write this. I wish I could just say random words and be comprehensible enough. Random words like…..
Boyfriend. Yes. Long story. Short story – great kisser. Me – vary. Me – way out of boy’s league. Me – give him a chance. Red flags. Sex. Third date. He – I love you. He – wants forever. He – you are going to be my wife, I promise, you’ll see. He – has kid. Kid – adorable. Me – let’s guard down. Me – falls hard. He – cancels dates. Promises more. Cancels again. Excuses legit. Or are they? Me – sweet. He – rude. Kid priority. Me – tries to understand. Friends – break up with him. Me – got the feels. Me – confused. Mixed signals. Why. Did not need this. Fuck.
I woke up at 3 am today. Then again at 5 am. Early morning awakening. A classic sign of depression. Am I slipping?
I had to write.
I could go on about what brought this sudden change on, but I’m too exhausted to tell stories right now. I just have the headspace for writing about my feelings. It had to do with two uber drivers who asked me out, my being completely naive about men in America, and as my friend A put it, for whatever reason, my standards being “very very low right now”.
I still value these experiences. I have only fallen in love with people I know, never ‘dated’ technically. Now I have. Now I know what sleeping with someone is like. It had to happen at some point I guess. It is out of my system now. How can you say you’re actually an adult if you’ve never had a crazy experience in love – like having your heart broken by two uber drivers in the same week?! I mean, oh my god. What the fuck was I thinking?!!
I always thought my kindness was my greatest strength. This week I learnt it is also my greatest weakness. Even with red flags waving in my face frantically, I decided to give these men a chance because, as I said to a friend before embarking on this ridiculous episode, ” I don’t want to be superficial’. I had always valued intelligence, wit, humor, accomplishments and integrity in men. I remember always thinking that I could only be attracted to someone more or at least as intelligent as me. Here, all I had to go on was their perceived integrity. “Perceived” being the operative word. Again, what the fuck was I thinking?!!
Was I desperate? Did I just want to get over S and V for good at any cost? I guess I was, and I did. But also, I just wanted to be like…held. 2.5 years without any human physical contact in a strange fucked up country (sorry America, but I’m mad right now) can make you do crazy things you’d never do otherwise.
I think my lesson here can be best summed up by my text exchange with my bisexual friend who has come to become the perfect relationship advisor. I mean I don’t think the perspective can get any better – a guy who has dated women before, but now is into men? That is just pure gold.
I stand in the shower, my head resting against the glass, letting the hot water fall on my neck and back, like a caress, a back rub. I did not have to stand here. I had washed off all the sadness already. But I was too scared to go out into my bedroom. I was too scared to find out he had not texted me back. I just wanted to be here, in limbo, where my heart was protected. Where no one could hurt me again. This was the last straw. I’m out.
Today was a day I will not forget for a long time. It was one of those days when you really want to go into a storage room at work and cry alone but cannot afford the luxury because you just don’t have the time.
It began like any other call day. I woke up with a jolt at 4 am realizing I had completely forgotten to finish my clinic notes from yesterday – was supposed to do them after the gym last night but had a long hot shower and crashed instead – it had completely skipped my mind! Well, good thing I had my laptop near my bed from last night’s The Office binge. I stayed under the covers and finished all three notes within the next hour and a half. My mind was surprisingly fresh. I remembered all the details from the previous day – I gave Ms A her Flu shot but Mr B refused to get his Shingles vaccine. Ms C was due for her colonoscopy – but she wanted to think about it. I put in a little reminder note for when she comes in next. It was great. I finished by around 5:40 am, and then snuggled back under the covers for twenty more minutes. Then it was the hustle of the morning – a blur of eggs over easy, coffee, trying to use concealer on my bruised upper lip in vain (don’t even ask) and searching for my ID in frustration while Alexa played Honest by The Chainsmokers in the background. Ahh, my life was so hot and perfect.
Walking into the ICU sign-out room at 6:55 am with my usual ‘hey guys’ I plopped myself down, a little giddy. This had been my favorite rotation in my entire residency. I find myself actually looking forward to the uncertainity of my days in the ICU. Soon, the night team walked in, a little too solemn for having just finished their shift. Before we could ask, J said, ” I have bad news… Bed 12 passed away last night”. I was briefly disoriented. For a moment I wondered if he was talking about someone else. Wait, what?! Bed 12, who had just last evening laughed and joked with me? Bed 12, with the amazing girlfriend of 20 years I had bonded with – ‘I’m gonna marry him now, she had said..I had cold feet the last time he asked me..but now I know for sure..I have to marry him the minute he gets discharged’. I had been delighted at their story – they had met in Kindergarten and reconnected many years later (yes, like V and I). I remember thinking she was so lucky – he had coded twice in the cath lab, and had been succesfully resuscitated, and had improved so much in two days that he was sitting up in a chair and joking around, eager to go home. Only he never got to. And she never got to marry him. He possibly had another clot in his LAD, they said. I couldn’t believe how fucked up this was. I sat through sign-out trying to focus, but my mind was already numb.
Well, I couldn’t afford to stay that way much longer – it was barely 8 am and my pager was going off incessantly. The ER attending was calling ICU consults with a vengeance. I wasn’t rattled though. I shrugged and got to work. I downgraded the less sick patients to a regular floor/Telemetry, and worked in earnest stabilizing the others. As I went through my day I marveled at how much my efficiency and confidence in my clinical decisions had improved over the last three years. I could almost do this in my sleep now.
Around 1 pm, I had finally almost caught up. The anion gap had closed and sugars were under control for the young newly diagnosed Diabetic patient with Ketoacidosis. The 91 year old with COPD exacerbation was now off BIPAP, saturating well on nasal cannula at 5 L. Labs were cooking for my post op patient in Room 13. He had had a hernia surgery, with small bowel resection, developed a post op anastomotic leak, had that repaired, and then developed a retroperitoneal bleed , with wound dehiscence, and was taken to the OR again today. I had started him on some sedation and pain management as my attending had advised. He was hemodynamically stable. Maybe I have a minute to finally start working on my consult notes, I thought, ignoring my pangs of hunger. I had barely sat down when my pager went off again. CODE BLUE IN 32 SOUTH, the overhead announcement repeated. I ran, 32 South was the ICU. I burst in through the doors when R directed me to the back of the unit. ‘It’s 13′, he said. Fuck.
We coded him for 20 minutes, and then finally got a pulse. Barely. He had become hypotensive and acidotic once he got on the unit while I was down in the ED, and my attending had been working on keeping him afloat, putting him on three pressors and pushing bicarb. His systolic blood pressure was still in the 70s. He was bound to code again. We called the family, asking them to come in as soon as they can. They wished for us to try all we can until they got there. We obliged. He coded again. We resuscitated him again. He held on until the family got there. My intern had his first go at the difficult conversation. Would they want us to continue to try and resuscitate him, when that may just prolong his suffering? I did not expect them to know the answer. And they did not. We decided to give them time. Meanwhile, we called the Chaplain for them so he could get his last rites.
But time is elusive. It slips by before you know it. CODE BLUE IN 32 SOUTH was called again. We ran over, to find 13’s lovely nurse N waving her arms indicating NO. They did NOT want us to pound his chest anymore. He was DNR now – Do Not Resuscitate. We let him go.
N was hugging everyone in the family tight. Tears were rolling down all of their faces. I blinked back mine. He was a good man, the wife said. We got them a bereavement tray – I truly do not know what that entails – some food and other things to provide comfort, I was told. I hope it helped.”I have to get the fuck out of here’, the son said in anguish before walking out of the room where his father lay cold. I called my intern over. ‘Have you ever done a death exam before? Come, let’s do it together’ I told her the steps. He was not responding to verbal or tactile stimuli. His pupils were dilated and fixed. We each listened to his heart and lungs and checked his pulses. We flashed a light in his eyes. We checked his reflexes. Time of death: 16:30.
ER paged again. My second COPD patient who had his blood CO2 level so high it was unmeasurable, was having second thoughts about his code status. He wanted a tube now. The Catholic in me secretly rejoiced – it has been a constant struggle for me to be the one who has these conversations with patients – I wanted them all to want to live! ‘Protect life from conception till death – my Catholic medical school had taught me. This whole DNR business was new for me. I explained his options to him again. I am always careful to start these conversations reiterating that this is something I am required to ask every patient in the hospital – asking them their code status does not imply that they are going to die the next minute. But in this case it could go either way. He was alert and awake at that CO2 level. COPD patients sometimes live at these higher levels of CO2. I truly could not predict his prognosis in the next 24 hours. But naturally, that is what the family wanted to know. What do you think his chances are? I tried to explain the facts while trying to not make the decision for them. The daughter tried to get her father with mild dementia understand the question again. She began to repeat my explanation to him, and then broke down unable to continue. I got her a tissue and rubbed her back pathetically.
The rest of the day was a blur of similar emotions. I know I did good today. I actually played doctor. I helped some people through their worst nightmares. I was efficient, effective. I got the job done. “You guys were terrific today’, the ICU ACLS coordinator said to my intern and I. ‘Thanks’, I smiled feebly.
It is 8:30 pm. I opened the door to my apartment, switched the lights on, took my coat off. Then I crumbled to the floor, sobbing.
Like anything else, dating is a skill. While there was a time when I would have scoffed at any rules in love, apparently there are some. Now that I’ve got my feet wet by actually going on a couple of dates, I’m beginning to realize, and be amused by this. I guess my naivete comes from an utter lack of experience. I’ve never technically gone on a date before this. I have only fallen desperately in love. With S, that was one of the things I really loved about the early parts of our relationship – there were never any ‘games’. We were both intelligent, attractive people secure enough in ourselves to not have to play hard to get. It was so easy and natural. I like you. I like you too. Simple.
My trainer J who has also become a close friend was telling me this the other day. She said, you should be with a guy you can text ten times a day if you want to without any qualms. I was like, I know!! I miss that! Both S and V were that kind of guys. She was also like “You are queen. You have all these options. You pick. Not them.” I was blown away. Woah. The kind of badass confidence that statement inspired was long overdue. And I’m still riding that wave.
I cannot deny that what has also helped me achieve that is becoming somewhat hot again (Hot and dangerous, per J:D). When all the sexy dresses in your closet that weren’t fitting in your fat period fit you beautifully again, you’re like, yassss, bitches! Tina Fey once said, every woman needs to have a fat period in her life. I couldn’t agree more. Its humbling. Its life experience. It also makes you more understanding of the next girl struggling with her health. As a doctor, this has really helped me guide my patients. I can recommend things with conviction because I know they’ve worked for me.
The same goes for mental health issues. My interns marvel at my knack for dealing with people suffering from depression and anxiety. I laugh it off, saying it must be something about my face that makes them open up. What they don’t know is how close to home those issues are for me. To every single mother, abused girlfriend, and IV drug user that I come across, I want to say, I know how it feels! I was there! I know how it is to feel stuck, helpless, hopeless! But I hold back. Instead I hold their hand, tell them there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Tell them there’s hope. I hold back because for all the advances we’ve made, there’s still stigma associated with mental health issues, even among healthcare providers. Every day I see my co-residents bemoaning their suicidal patient. Its unfortunate, but is nobody’s fault. Its just one of those things that society has yet to catch up with. As a medical student, I remember sitting in for the psychiatry clinics silently judging most patients who were seeking help. Come on, get over it! Its not that bad as you make it out to be, I would say in my head. Now I know they just can’t help it. And they need all the help they can get. So while my career choice is Infectious Diseases, which I absolutely love, I am hoping to find an avenue for helping out patients with mental health issues. Maybe there’s a volunteer opportunity somewhere. I should do some research. I have so much to give on this front.
So that post took quite the detour. See? It’s not about boys anymore. But that’s all for now. I gotta go. I have a date:)
Most of all, know that we are glad you exist. Excellent cuddles at frequent intervals are what makes us thrive after all:)
3. Do not text L.