-“Doctor…Why didn’t we insist that he should get the vaccine—feel so guilty.”
Maria X. is a brave and tenacious middle-aged homemaker with a loving husband and two gorgeous teenagers, having worked tirelessly since they immigrated to the USA from Cuba in that infamous Mariel exodus. Since they arrived in South Florida, we have been good friends and they even visited our medical office several times.
Her husband, very confused by the false mantra of the social media liars and anti-vaccination wackos decided that they should all wait until the mRNA vaccines got the final expert approval to do the only know way to avoid disease: get vaccinated. They did observe the basic rules of Social Distancing and wore the needed mask. However, all those precautions were for naught as one of his store customers got infected with the dangerous Delta variant in early July and passed it on to him.
Yesterday I garnered enough courage to visit him in the Intensive Care Unit where he has been hospitalized for a week already, with plenty of machines whirring away. Heavily sedated, he could open his eyes to welcome me when the nurse told him. Deeply distraught, I went to the waiting area where his loving family had been keeping vigil day and night, praying to God Almighty and expecting a miracle. When his children saw me approaching, they raced to embrace me and cry in my arms.
After forty years of continuous and varied medical practice, I believed that there would be few things that could shake me to the very bone. I was wrong. That did. I tried to talk them out of their despair and re-assure them that there was still hope. Pushing away at an almost irrepressible desire to cry together, I did what most of us, physicians, have doing during this terrible ordeal. Stiffen my upper lip and carry on. After talking a few minutes with Maria in a discreet corner, I invented an excuse and promised them that I would return. I skedaddled down the hallway to the nearest bathroom.
I cloistered myself in the loo and slumped on a covered toiled seat. I welled up in earnest.
Note. This reproduction of Rembrandt’s Weeping Woman was taken from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_A_Weeping_Woman.jpg
Ever since the sanitary facilities were invented in the nineteenth century, they have been used as a clandestine hiding place by women. But now men are catching up fast. The following text is an excerpt of my upcoming book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague.
—”Doctor…I hide in the bathroom—so my children can’t hear me cry.”
Susan X. is a nice, intelligent, and hard-working mother of a small child who must shoulder the entire burden of her household all alone, even though she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her husband works as a salesman and has had a chronic back problem since he was injured in a previous stint as a truck driver.
Her family cannot help her economically but her mother pitches in occasionally. Oftentimes she puts her child to bed, finishes her household duties and, before her husband arrives for a late supper, locks herself in the bathroom to well up at ease. It is a simple ritual that gives her emotional relief. Crying alone in the bathroom.
The tried-and-true escape valve for women in angst. Like our mother Gladys did.
Modern women, who are employed full-time in demanding jobs, usually must return home to complete the house chores with little or no help from their live-in partners; to make matters worse they might not have the support offered by close family members or friends. In our hyper-connected age, where most of the rooms at home are taken over by the obnoxiously-pinging squatting devices, they must retrench to the bathroom—their “panic room” to do an exorcism of sorts.
Welling up, they slump on the floor and hug the cold toilet with passion.
Isn’t it sad that they had to anoint a disposal unit as a default confidante?”
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.