Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Amazing Thing Happens

"Can you come home early to take care of me?" I email the DNB. I'm at work, but very, very sick.

"Yes," he writes back.

"Wait, what?" I'm stunned, and suspicious. "Do you not have any patients this afternoon?"

Much as I love the DNB, it's a point of contention between us that he NEVER TAKES OFF EARLY FOR ANYTHING. Not even when he promised he'd be home when the Lund's delivery guy got there, and I had another commitment. Not even when Sebastian My Cyst was rupturing and two Vicodin couldn't quell the pain. Not even when he's post-call and over his duty hour limits.

It's because he doesn't want to dump work on anyone else. If he leaves before all of his work is taken care of, another resident will have to finish it. And that's not fair. When it comes to the treatment of patients, there's very little you can put off for another day.

Theoretically, this is noble. It indicates a good work ethic and consideration for others. Theoretically.

Until I'm home alone puking uncontrollably.

In those moments, it feels like every other sick person in the city is more important than me. It feels like the work-life balance is off. And when he tells me he'd come home if he could, I don't believe him.

"Was something cancelled?" I ask.

"No," he writes. "It's because I don't usually get to take time off to take care of you."

I'm so happy I tell everyone within earshot.

"Maybe you have something really horrible," one of my friends suggests. "And he's just not telling you."

He's there when I get home, with cheerful yellow tulips and a get well note from the Buds. "To be honest, I had to help them write it," he explains.

"Thank you," I whisper as he kisses my forehead. "I'm not dying, am I?"

"No, honey, you're not dying," he says with a smile.

And I believe him.

1 comment:

dana said...

As touching and tender and sweet as this story is, I must confess that the "get well note from the buds" was my favorite part.