Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Healing the Heart of Hearts

This one is going to be painful for me to write. My soul will be laid bare by the end of it.

The happiest I had ever been in my life, and the most complete, was when I was three years old, and lying in my mother's arms as she rocked me in the big maple rocking chair. My head was on her chest, and I would listen. I would listen to the sound of her heart, and it would comfort me. I knew everything was okay, as long as I had my mom and dad, and I could cuddle in her arms and listen to her heartbeat as I fell into a blissful sleep.

Along the way, there has been one heartache after another. From a sibling being born, to life on the playground, to a terrible assault on me when I was only four, to my first love breaking up with me, two marriages with divorce, and my childrens father leaving me when I was four months pregnant with his child.

At one point, because of terrible sinus infections, I went to the College of Oriental Medicine and was treated by acupuncturist and herbalist Rick Gold. (He was one of the first westerners to go to china to learn their native medicine). He saw I was a 'sensitive', and he sent me to see Christel Nani.  I was in medical school at the time.

When I met Christel, I didn't like her. She had her hair all bouffanted up (modern, but still weird), and she did this strange sniffing thing as she looked at my chakras. She had a tape recording going. Her manner was brusque, and she told me point blank my heart chakra looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off in it, that is was a lunar wasteland. She asked questions, but the truth of her calling me on my disability made me not want to open up any more and risk pain. I felt like she was more about Christel and money than healing people, and I wanted to run away.

What I never told a soul, is that for years I had been finding a way to fill that aching gaping hole: the heart room.

There was healing going on, and I was like a dog seeking the last crumbs at the table.  It was the energy of the green chakra that helped me to get by, although by and large as far as love and tenderness and unconditional love are concerned, I was frankly, starving.

I love my patients. I feel a tenderness for them that is hard to explain, although I missed it very dearly while I was recovering from surgery myself this late Spring.

I love my surgeons. And the cardiac ones most of all. They are Healers of the Green Chakra. And I mainlined energy from them. The first one I met, I connected from across a lecture hall. I knew I had to work with the tall handsome South African who came to lecture the class. I would do anything for him. And I did. Got a wonderful letter of recommendation, and started off on my career as a cardiac surgeon.

What happened and made me a cardiac anesthesiologist? Butt and gut. General surgery. It takes five years of that and then three to make it to cardiac surgeon. The hemorrhoids and stomas and lack of a personal life just were worse than the traumas and cardiac cases I enjoyed doing. And I didn't want to supervise any residents. It was hard to leave my cardiac surgeon (he had a crush on me, and I could have married him, but I thought he deserved better than me with my broken past), but instead I did my fellowship where I was very close to him online, and came back to dedicate my life to being his 'work wife' without his knowledge or consent as to why I was there.

I was happy, in the heart room, side by side with him. I would look at his face,  play his favorite music, and take my very best care of his patients. It was always one-sided. And in a way, I was perpetuating the imbalance I had all my life.

The father of my son was of the same heritage as him. I let my surgeon know I was pregnant before I let the father know. He was my confidante, my hero, my friend. It was one-hundred percent platonic; he had married and fathered two kids since I was his resident.

And then a new chairman came to my department. I was one of six layoffs of anesthesiologists at a University hospital. I figured it was because we worked part time, with full time benefits, and the economy was tight.. A colleague of mine, however, challenged it. He linked it to a Journal Club event using a paper of the chair's as the topic as the cause of unlawful termination of employment. I organized that Journal Club. I have not sought retribution or clearing of my name. I wouldn't want to. My colleagues there turned on me. I could not stay in either case, due to the bitchiness in the department that was pervasive. (One heart a week was enough for me to feel 'right', but I also felt Spirit working through me, guiding me in my work, and I enjoyed being in that capacity very much.)

Due to my great Curriculum Vitale, I was hired to start a new heart program at a community hospital. I had a job at a different hospital doing hearts, and I loved the anesthesiologists, but not the surgeons. They yelled at me while I was proctoring. They yelled at me to shut up. The heart room had been a place of joy up to then, no matter where I worked. I could not tolerate that. They were ugly and stupid and mean.

This heart program was from the ground up. I had to design and stock my own anesthesia cart. I had no technician. I had no colleagues for back-up. I was the only one on call every day for six weeks. I was not invited to any meetings to discuss my heart program or how hard I was working. I felt trapped. And the surgeons hated women. Especially smart women with TEE capability. I flopped terribly.

And I had to live with it. If it wasn't for my OB skills and being liked by them, I would have been fired.

Today, I took a new hire up to do a cardioversion. The cardiologist was late. The patient told us wonderful stories as we waited over forty-five minutes for the cardiologist to show up. The air was thick with tension, as the nurses in the area do not like me. After the cardiologist was done, the new hire asked, 'Doesn't it kill you to sit here and do that when you know TEE?'
'Actually,' I said, 'The TEE skill takes maintenance. You have to go to conference at least every two years to stay current. The technology is changing. I used to go. I had all my friends. I look at myself here, and all that work for fellowship and TEE certification are for what? For nothing. That is what hurts.'

And then the patient was hypotensive. The nurse had the carrier normal saline line connected to the amiodarone drip. As I injected anesthesia drugs small boluses of the drip got into the patient, dropping blood pressure. Together the propofol, versed, and amiodarone made the patient  hypotensive after cardioversion. And these nurses have NO recovery room skills. She wanted him awake, just like he was. (this is Phase II PACU).  I had to go into my old heart room with a case on the table to get the phenylephrine medication to get his blood pressure up until he woke up. It took all the courage I had to step into that room, where once they had yelled at me, gave me no help, and when I asked for a fiberoptic scope for double lumen tube placement, gave me the Glide scope from the ER.  (the new hire freaked out over that one too).

Immediately after the cardioversion, I was scheduled in the Main O.R. to do a sternal wire removal with the surgeon who gave me the thumbs down and kicked me out of his heart room in the first place. At the time, I could tell the two surgeons were very low vibration. All they were about was money. Each patient was a prize to be won, an entitlement of $$$$$. It was all about speed, efficiency, not telling them that anything was wrong, and letting them make money. This group covered five different hospitals! As I progressed in my psychic development and took Reiki, my vibration rose. High vibration and low vibration and incompatible. I took to doing Reiki and energy work in the OR too, and they said, 'you are spacing out'. Well, I was new to Reiki. But I was also traumatized by the mistreatment and abuse. They wanted me to clean up and stock my cart at the end of the case. They wanted me to do critical care, unpaid, to train their nurses after the case. For like, the entire recovery after surgery! They wanted me to be an anesthesia technician, a cardiac anesthesiologist, and an ICU attending but I was only hired for one job!

In the long run, it was a blessing to get into my own vibration, to have the time to go to Development Circle and Reiki classes, and to write this blog. Leaving the heart room was what I needed to be me.

But here is the miracle. Dr. B was replaced by Dr. L today who I like. Plus, the guy that I am sweet on, scrubs for heart cases! My new hire, so loving and supportive, was there at the start of the case. It went flawlessly. I got to watch from the 'front row', over the drape. I got to talk with my surgeons. And I shot them down at the first misogynist comment, saying, 'Oh. I'm in the Heart Room again! The last bastion of the Old Boys Club...where I am an INTRUDER!' as a half-joke, half-don't mess with me statement. They thought about it, and I could see they saw I was right.

At the end, the charge nurse commented on how pretty I looked today. I had on eye makeup. And the little Vietnamese party girl, called me on it, 'You are in LOVE!' I blushed. I denied. I said I had a late start, and got to take care of my appearance this morning instead of being in a rush and half asleep.The woman doth protest too much. There he was, as sweet on me as I on him, right in the room. I had been giving thanks for this special time the entire case in my heart. But L-O-V-E?  It's on my face. Everyone can see it. And fortunately for the gossip mill, they didn't know who it was who makes me feel that way. Not yet. I outrank him.

I don't know what the future holds for me in this relationship. But my heart, after the last break from my baby-daddy somehow healed along the way busy childraising. And as I have worked at Ascension, my wound, my scar, my I -thought-it-would-never heal, did.

My heart is working. It is full of love, unconditional love for everyone. Full of motherly love for my family. And now, for the first time ever, full of healthy love for a possible partner, with no expectations whatsoever. Just joy and lots of gratitude, for being able to feel the surge of healing energy that used to flow through me in the heart room, one more time again, and to share that side of me, with my friend I want to know better. Without Reiki, this life would have been a waste of the same old behaviours, trying to feel better for a while. With Reiki, I am whole in a way I never thought would happen to me again.


Reiki Doc