"I had been trained to be this way. No panic, just a calm journeyman’s approach to any affliction, like a mathematician working an equation. Years of preparation, acquiring a skill set, building up my vault, had readied me to stand in the lounge...
"I had been trained to be this way. No panic, just a calm journeyman’s approach to any affliction, like a mathematician working an equation. Years of preparation, acquiring a skill set, building up my vault, had readied me to stand in the lounge like a zebra.
And so, I stared at my hands to see if I was actually here, to see who I was. Maybe I was hoping to see something different. Anything, really. A tremble, a shake. But I saw nothing. Just my hands. Steady. Solid. Quiet.
The clock clicked, 8:21. It was one of those old-school clocks, like you’d see on the wall back in grade school. I had zoned out looking at a similar clock at my son’s last parent-teacher conference. The second hand was rigid and jerky, making a big move forward, then a small move back. Big forward, small back.
Everything fits together, like the pieces of a giant puzzle. The picture becomes clear only when the dark colors blend with the bright. The picture is revealed because of the unity of pieces. I felt the seconds ticking, moving forward from 8:21. Even though it didn’t look like it, deep down, the last thirty minutes had kicked my ass. From the outside I was calm, but somewhere inside, the hideous reality of death and suffering screamed and rattled in my well-guarded cage."
Shannon Sovndal is an emergency physician and author of Fragile: Beauty in Chaos, Grace in Tragedy, and the Hope That Lives in Between. (https://amzn.to/30SyL1C)
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "Calm in the face of the hideous reality of death." (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/05/calm-in-the-face-of-the-hideous-reality-of-death.html)
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