Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Nightmare or Realism?

The other night I had a dream. 

My husband and I were on a date together in the city. We were leaving a movie theater and saw a huge explosion down the street a few blocks away. People were screaming and running in our direction. We saw helicopters crashing into buildings and knew it was terrorist attacks. There were dark clothed figures with large guns visible through the open doors of the helicopters. We grabbed each others' hands and started running down a side street away from the explosion. There was chaos, confusion and screaming everywhere. Suddenly, my husband stopped. His hand left mine. He turned to look at the fires and people stumbling around on the street, crying for help. I called his name. He turned and looked at me. His face was sad and apologetic, but determined and strong. His eyes communicated that he assumed I understood. He needed to go help people that had been hurt in the attacks. I knew that I needed to find our children and keep them safe. In a second, without any words, we both started running again - in our separate directions.
I’m not sure if this was a dream or a nightmare, but I woke up, sobbing, and couldn’t fall asleep again for a long time.
This realization is probably normal for most medical doctors’ spouses. In the past, I have thought about it and accepted that his career would pull away and hold strong loyalties and require sacrifices, not only of time, money, energy, dedication, but also of his emotions, his priorities, his focus, his view of the world. 
I just finished the book, Oxygen. It was a nice package, full of facts about anesthesiologists, hospital politics and malpractice suits, along with every possible ingredient necessary to produce a captivating fictional novel, (I almost always read non-fiction so this was quite saucy, and definitely PG13, and I was surprised by the ending). I enjoyed the peak inside the life and thoughts of an anesthesiologist. When my husband arrived home last night, I saw him in an entirely different and new way. Entirely. I was overcome, to say the least, by the fact that he remains comfortable and confident while daily controlling each of his patients' living breaths. 
I was unsure of myself when I first saw him when he walked in the door. As I think of that now, I think it is because I feel this new view of him will influence our relationship, our family, and me.

There is so much that I don't fully comprehend when it comes to my husband's training as a medical doctor. The book gave me a small taste, enough to change my perspective of what he does, but my dream reminded me that there is much more that I am simply not a part of and cannot understand. I’m not sure I will ever be able to completely unravel my complex emotions that must have led to that dream the other night, but I do know that I will never forget the expression on his face as we parted.

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