Page 26

| ESSAY |

It’s OK to T

Not Be OK

he stone walls begin to shift inward and the water continues to rise. The exit, high up on its ledge, is still in view. I don’t know how we got here or how it got this far, but I do know we have to get out. All of us. Think Britteny, think! You can figure this out. Of course! As the waters rise, we can float to the top and reach the exit. But what about the walls? What if there isn’t enough time to get everyone out? I watch as each member of my family heads for the exit and heaves themselves up onto the ledge. Time is running thin and the water is now nearing my chin. The water’s pace seems to quicken and the walls move increasingly closer. I reach for the ledge and pull myself upward as the water engulfs my body. I don’t think I can make it, the force is too great. With every bit of strength that I can muster, I push through the wall of water and land on the dry ledge. My mother helps me stand as I look back to see a wall of water, like glass, separating me from my previous terror. Not everyone is here, I can feel it. Then the realization of my father’s absence overwhelms me. Dad is still in there. You have to get him out! I see him struggle for air as the stone walls fight to move closer in and the water reaches maximal capacity. I try to reach back through the water wall, but I can’t. My hands abruptly stop as they hit the clear barrier. I am helpless. I can do nothing to save him. I must watch as the man who raised me, loved me, and would die for me, now struggles for life before my eyes. My mother’s calm voice rings in my ear, ripping my attention away from the horrific scene before me. “Britteny, you have to let him go. It’s all right. You must let go.” My eyes spring open as I struggle to regain consciousness. I take a few deep breaths and lay on my back looking at the empty blackness above me. It was just a dream. Another night of restless sleep. Another nightmare. 24

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine

By 2LT Britteny Randall, USAR, MS III britteny.randall1453@cnsu.edu

Another crushing sense of despair as reality sinks into my now conscious mind. Your dad is dead and he’s not coming back. The words sting like venom as I tightly close my eyes and the tears begin their descent down my cheeks to my pillow. Stop. Britteny, you must put this away for another time. You have a test tomorrow. You can’t think about this right now. Focus on the task at hand. What would your dad want you to do? I turn back on to my side and run through the various reproduction drugs locked in my short-term memory until the line of conscious thought and sleep begins to blur. It has been three months since my father’s desperate fight with illness came to an end. I stood helpless as my father was ripped away from me five days after his 54th birthday. I often catch myself trying to place external rules like “fairness” on life’s recent challenges, as if they hold any sway. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. He was too young. I am too young. My role as a concerned daughter with caregiving responsibilities has been replaced by a simple student trying to balance the pressures of medical school with grief and a new questioning of life’s priorities. My studies have become mere tasks necessary for a greater end. Devoid of passion, I drudge through my medical school education in the hope that I will feel “something” again. I think of my father, his pride in my accomplishments thus far and his deathbed pleas for me to change the world through medicine. I know I once felt this same passion for medicine too, but right now I feel lost. I’m tired of feeling nothing. I’m tired of suppressing my emotions due to inconvenience only to be strangled by them when I’m alone, vulnerable. I’m tired of being haunted by flashbacks of his lifeless body and final

Profile for Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society

2019-Jul/Aug - SSV Medicine  

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine is the official journal of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (SSVMS) and promotes the history,...

2019-Jul/Aug - SSV Medicine  

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine is the official journal of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (SSVMS) and promotes the history,...