Op Note XXV
After a while it starts to seem unreal. All this putting to sleep and prepping of flesh, this cutting and excising of tumors and organs. Some come in too late. They die. There’s labor and delivery down the hall. Replacements on the way. But then you wander one night on the upper wards, alone. Dead, dead, dead, soon to die. You feel like you're someone else. No, not someone, something else. A different form of being. Not like this patient or that. Not like the GSW in bay 2. The rigid belly in slot 14. They all have medical record numbers. Look them up. Digital code to an entire life. But you get detached. It’s only natural. You just want to be good. Empathetic but professionally distant. The wall begins here. You don't even see it. But then you get nightmares. Cold sweats. Getting chased. Losing your soul. Running in mud. A voice in your ear that sometimes sounds like a lover in the throes of passion. Sometimes like the wails of the deepest suffering. You never hear words. You can’t tell. One morning on rounds you finally get it. You’re not alone. But it comes at the cost of realizing deeply, for the first time, the inevitability of your own demise. Just as all the others. If you didn't, who the hell would you be? Where did you come from? And who abandoned you? I can imagine Christ’s surprise. Waking up after three days in the ground, staring in astonishment at the paleness of his soft palms. Father, who am I now?