I admit I awoke at 3 am on Election night, checked the results and felt my heart speed up and my stomach clench.
I knew the morning would be rough.
I work with in a great place. I love my job. It is a great fit for me. I see the world come through my door.
I have patients who are Muslim, Gay, Transgendered, Black, White, Asian, Nepalese, young, old and in between. I don't see a lot of rich white males though. I see the people on the fringes and in the middle.
I work with medical residents, young docs just starting out. And I am discovering they are not jaded, they are compassionate and caring and want to change the world too. Several pulled me aside and jokingly said, "I need a session with you". Half in jest, totally in truth?
Over the course of the week I have come to terms with the election. Honestly, I was a Bernie fan, but for me it came down to the lesser of two evils.
This week I have seen many posts on Facebook; many opinions, fears and anxieties, grief and anger reign...
So I have been thinking what I can do. I emailed a friend the following:
"So if my schedule for next week is indicative of the current state of the nation, I have 38 pts scheduled. Overwhelmingly anxiety diagnoses.
My normal schedule is 25. I opened up my ad min day due to the holidays approaching but did I expect this many patients? No. Do I think they will all show up? No. But the fact they scheduled shows the need and despair.
I have had several of the staff (docs, nurses) joking they need a session with me this week.
Our clinic sees a very diverse population. I have patients who are Muslim, Trans, Gay, Black, Asian, Nepalese... you name it, they come through my door. Except rich white men. I don't seem to have those appearing on my schedule...
It's a scary time. I do take hope in that there are many here who are fighting the good fight. Trying to improve the lives and wellbeing of the disenfranchised.
We have clinics specifically for LGBT needs, we have clinics for substance abuse, we are trying to meet overwhelming needs... but we are trying. So I will do what I can, when I can, where I can and this small blue dot will keep hoping for a better world.
I love you buddy. Stay safe."
I know he can take care of himself, but there are many in the world who can't. I realized I have to advocate for them. I may not be able to make huge changes in the world, but an hour at a time, a person at a time, I can give them a safe place. I can let them vent, cry, grieve as needed. I can pass out tissues, I can coach them in deep breathing, I can help them make a plan. I can help them sort out their feelings. It may not be much, but change is incremental and it's a start.
I won't lose hope. I will not stop being kind. I will not stop helping others. I won't let an election change my values and my purpose which is to serve others and love the best I can.
I know I am not alone in this fight. I know too many good people. I see them come through my door. I see them healing and fighting and hoping.
I still believe that there are more good people in the world than we realize. They don't make the news, they do their work quietly and gently. But they are there.
No one is going to steal my hope. No one.