Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

I think my heart is breaking, a little.

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU
 
Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 11:31 PM
Original message
I think my heart is breaking, a little.
It's so hard to stay objective in this line of work.

I have one patient, she's a prostitute and a heroin addict. And she has some serious issues with depression. She muscles her heroin, and she's in every couple of weeks to get an incision, drainage, and some antibiotics. She's always at least a little weepy and anxious, but yesterday really tore me up.

When I entered the exam room, she was distractedly putting on her makeup, and crying. I couldn't get her to give me a history of her current condition. Foundation, powder, lipstick, even mascara, even though it ran continuously, since she was crying the whole time. She finally took a minute to show me her new abscess; a little swelling and redness, but not ready for incision and drainage. Some antibiotics and a few days of warm wet compresses would take care of it. Then she went back to her frantic makeup application, still weeping. She even brushed some polish over the onychomycosis on her fingernails.

I got her taken care of. But when I finally had a chance to think about it, the makeup seemed to me to symbolize her human dignity, her sense of self worth. I can only imagine what a horrible train wreck of a life she must have. And I can't get rid of the image of her crying and compulsively applying her makeup, as if, fully made up, her life wouldn't be so awful.

Maybe that's some poor dime store analysis there, but that's my take on it.

I love what I do, but it can take a lot out of you...

Thank you for listening.
Refresh | 0 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hear you, my dear Aristus...
My hospital nursing never brought me a patient like you had today...

It was a community hospital, and people like her just didn't go there.

Still, your writing is so damn vivid, I can see just what you're talking about, and it is heartbreaking.

Maybe she was using the makeup to cover up the pain she was feeling? That it could somehow change her life?

No idea...Hang in there, sweetie...

:hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. that is heartbreaking
so much of it is ignored by so many, thank you for doing what you do for her and the others "we" don't want to think about

:hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
bluesbassman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sometimes the facade takes the place of who we really are.
God only knows the steps that have led this poor soul to her own version of hell. My heart aches for her.

You're a good man Aristus, my hat's off to you for what you do.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. Thank you, bluesbassman.
I can't bring myself to forgive Ronald Reagan for stating that homeless people were homeless "by choice"; but I will agree that a series of bad choices unrelated to homelessness can lead to homelessness. It's also not my place to judge the homeless for their state in life. To me, they're patients. And I will advocate for the rights of the homeless to my dying breath...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
4. All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
Thank you for caring about her. The makeup must make her feel more presentable, like a mask to hide herself. The song Eleanor Rigby comes to mine: "the face that she keeps in a jar by the door...". Oh how sad. Poor thing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
5. But prostitution is so EMPOWERING! How dare you pity her!
:sarcasm:

Thank you for caring.

The fact that she can still cry
shows that she still cares, too.

:cry:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. i was thinking the wrapping it up in a neat bow of pretty woman.
this is reality.

sigh...

a sad story
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. starving to death to support her heroin habit is clearly better. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
6. !!!!!!!!!!!!
:cry:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TuxedoKat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. Is there something we could do to help her?
I feel so helpless. This is one of the saddest things I've read in a long time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
9. I blame a lot of this on the right.
Seriously. If we had a proper social safety net and sane laws on issues like drugs, we wouldn't have so many people that fall through the cracks. Of course there will always be some level of dysfunction, but I suspect it would be a lot less. Imagine a world where first of all, drugs aren't illegal, so those that do choose to involve themselves with them at least don't have to turn to crime to support their habit. Imagine a world where we have better drug treatment and prevention programs paid for by the taxes raised from the profits, which no doubt would still be substantial, made by agribus on legalized drugs, which after all are just more farm products when you boil it down. Imagine a world where the "lower classes" aren't treated like some kind of animals.

"Imagine all the people, living lives in peace"

Too bad we don't live in that world, but in this fundie hellhole.



Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
10. You are such a good man.
And that is a really sad story. You do what you can, sometimes it won't be enough to fix it. Heroin and depression together and still she wants to present her best face. Poor tragic lady. :cry:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Bunny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'm wondering if it wasn't something different.
Maybe she had to put on the makeup and do her nails so she'd be appealing to her customers, and maybe the thought of having to suit up and do that again was just too much for her on that day. Either way, it's pretty sad.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. You know, Bunny, I hadn't thought of that simple and rather logical explanation.
I'm sure you're right about that. But the image in my mind of the incident seems fraught with so many unspoken meanings...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
12. You are a good egg. As long as she is still alive there is hope that she can turn it around.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
14. what does muscles her heroin mean? and what is onychomycosis?
:hi: :hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. She injects it into the large muscles of her body, butt, thighs, etc.
I tell all my IV drug-using patients: even if you don't re-use your needles, even if you exchange them for clean ones every time, even if you don't share needles, you can't control what goes into the junk, or black tar, or cheeva, or whatever. There could be anything in that crap. So, I see lots and lots of abscessed skin infections.

Onychomycosis is nail fungus; that yellowish-green stuff that distorts the nail surfaces.

Thanks for the hug, Lioness; I needed that... :hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. poor girl. what a terrible state to be in
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
suninvited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
17. Maybe the makeup
is to cover the ugliness she feels inside.

Some of the most messed up women I know won't walk out of their doors without a face full of makeup.


Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
18. .
:hug:

So many people turn away, Aristus. You don't.

I've been pretty devastated before - not dealing with her lifestyle, but emotionally just ripped apart - and done the same damn useless thing. Kept putting on my mascara as tears messed it all up.

Something about preserving a bit of normalcy. Or routine. Or armor, even when everything inside you is cracked.

My heart goes out to this woman, and thank you for your kindness and compassion, Aristus. I hope you treat yourself gently after days like this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Thank you, Flaxbee.
On the first day of Physician Assisting school, we students were asked why we wanted to get in to Medicine. My response was rather paradoxical: I got in to Medicine because I can't stand to see people suffering. It would seem logical enough to avoid a profession that exposes one to so much suffering. But I'm glad I made the choice that I did.

:hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
19. you are a witness
and you are a natural writer. You could lend some meaning to these lives by journaling, and perhaps by writing something for publication. I can think of several magazines that would be eager for a first-person account like the short bit you wrote above.

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Aug 27th 2014, 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC