“Irony is easier than hopeless silence but braver than flight. The problem is that sometimes your finger shakes as you gesture, there is no point to point to, and maybe you can’t point anywhere---or at least not at anything visible.”
This a quote from The Empathy Exams, page 154. I have read this paragraph many times.
In May of 2013 I almost died. I ended up in the emergency room after two weeks of not being able to catch my breath, passing out, and some major shoulder pain. I went to the ER on a Sunday after I passed out in the bathroom at church. Even then I was hesitant to go to the hospital. I would hate to make a big deal over nothing. I had seen the doctor when I first started feeling sick and he said it was ovarian cysts. There was no ultra-sound or anything, that was just what he thought it was and I believed him. He was nice, why would I question a nice doctor? Turns out I had an ectopic pregnancy. The embryo had implanted in my fallopian tube and the sickness and pain started when my fallopian tube split open because a fallopian tube is not equipped to house an embryo. I had been bleeding internally for two weeks. I had to have emergency surgery that was supposed to take about 45 minutes but ended up taking three hours because my entire abdomen was filled with blood and had to be irrigated out before the doctor could see what was happening to be able to remove the pregnancy and my right fallopian tube. The doctor thought he was done and was looking around to make sure and discovered that my entire chest cavity was filled with blood as well, so that had to be removed too. Of course I only found this all out a week later when I went back for a follow-up. The doctor apologized, sincerely apologized. I was ready to be mad at him but he knew he had messed up by not realizing what was wrong sooner. If you google “fainting and shoulder pain” ectopic pregnancy is one of the first things that pops up under causes. In fact, after my surgery when I googled that exact phrase it said if you have these symptoms call 911 immediately because it is a sign of internal bleeding. Not only did I not call 911, I kept living my life as best I could. I drove my kids around, made dinner, and all that other stuff that I normally do. Why did I not die?
The above quote refers to this situation for me. I laughed about it, “Hey remember last week when I almost died?” or “I think I was busy trying not to die when that happened, sorry I couldn’t help you.” I had to stop joking about it because it scared my kids but I needed to feel something about the whole, horrible situation and humor helped. I wanted to go to the doctor and point my finger at him, yell, and blame him for….for what? Making a mistake? He was humble and felt sorry, he’s human and I didn’t die. I couldn’t be mad at him. I had nowhere to point. I still have nowhere to point and this still bothers me.