B. Betty, RN

We go in whole. Wholehearted, with a sound mind, eager to save. Eager to help, we can lose ourselves and our essence on this dimly lit trail of fairy tales and disillusionment. The trail into the woods we are told, is where our goodness is.  It is the path that will save us.

As we trip through the somber paths over-run with branches, disoriented by elongated shadows, the goodness is peeled off with deep, ragged scratches. Our pristine white jackets become rumpled and stained with blood and tears. We are dirty and for the first time, truly lost. We cry in fear and pain, but no one hears.  We learned to save the lives of others, yet here we are with the inability to perform life-saving support on ourselves. Can we make it through the dangerous forest without being deceived or eaten by the wolves?

The picnic basket is still full. Perhaps we can make it to the warm, safe cabin that is within the circle of moonlight on the other side of the forest. We remember the welcoming light shining from the windows. The trail is getting rocky. Narrower. The tree branches grasp and tear at our jackets with corpses fingers. The clouds scorn the moon as they snuff out her light.  The birds have ceased to call our name. The wind mocks us with her hissing whispers.  We are in the dark. We are alone.

There are no call lights here. No crash carts, no oxygen masks. No algorithms for care. No life-saving serums.  No transfers to ICU. There is no one to cry for in our own time of need. We must save ourselves. The hungry wolf’s hot breath is the only heat we feel.
“Didn’t your mother warn you?” he asks.
“No, We were only told, ‘Physician, heal thyself.’”
“There is no healing in the dark, Doctor.” says the wolf. “Only feeding.”