"We eventually got the news that Dr. Rathburn had hung himself from one of those beautiful trees that the wind made dance. How sad. It adds to my own grief. Who had found him? How did he look? Babies born with a nuchal cord have the cord wrapped...
"We eventually got the news that Dr. Rathburn had hung himself from one of those beautiful trees that the wind made dance. How sad. It adds to my own grief. Who had found him? How did he look? Babies born with a nuchal cord have the cord wrapped around their neck. That’s the closest I have seen to a hanging. I once delivered a baby who had it wrapped around three times, and by the time he was born, his little face looked bloated and bruised, tongue swollen and sticking out, and he had petechiae (small dots of microscopic veins that burst) on his face. I wonder if he looked similar. Did he have petechiae? How would even do that? I wish I knew. I wish I had said goodbye. I wish the image of him shuffling by me would leave my head. Would every warm and beautiful summer afternoon with the tree limbs dancing remind me of him; of this place; of this horrible feeling? That was something to look forward to. At least I was thinking of a future. That had not been possible just a few short weeks ago. When it’s dark, it is bleak, like black silence and extraordinary effort to move and operate the body. The pain of my empty feeling heart and just holding my head on my neck seemed unbearable at times. Right, I am here, and I am feeling better. At least the empty blackness is gone most of the time. I light another cigarette. It’s better than crying.
Dr. Rathburn, you haunt me still. I was so close. It could have been me."
Robyn Alley-Hay is an obstetrician-gynecologist and physician coach. She can be reached at her self-titled site, Dr. Robyn Alley-Hay.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, "A physician hung himself. That could have been me." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/01/a-physician-hung-himself-that-could-have-been-me.html)
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