All the Wrong Places
"No, that's not luck. That was all you."
"Oh, no, no, no, no. You made the call."
"You twisted my arm. You're not always gonna be right, you know."
"You sure about that, Dr. Wakefield?"
She can't always be right, but she is this time, and so far, every other time. She doesn't always go about it in the right way, like with David, but she is usually right. She was right with David, he is in remission, and he has a right to know. I just didn't want to mess it up this time, not with this patient.
Christina wasn't there, though she should have been, and I'm glad she wasn't. Camille had been sick, so Christina had to stay home with her for the week. Camille couldn't be around Michael, with his compromised immune system. I had received the test results, and was so excited I couldn't wait to tell him. He was in full remission, it was amazing. I had seen relief and joy in patients and their families before, but I had never felt it with them. Michael was my friend and this was special. The look on his face as I shared the news was the most rewarding moment in my years as a doctor. I told him he should call Christina, she would want to know right away. Then he got very serious.
"Listen, Tom, I know you're the medical expert here, not me, but I've been in the hospital and the support groups enough to know, this disease can be cold and mean. I don't want to tell her yet, and I don't want you to do it either. Christina has been a great wife, better than I deserve. She has fought this cancer harder than either of us, with will power alone. If we're wrong and she thinks I'm better only to find out I'm not, it will crush her. I can't give her false hope. After all we've been through this seems too good to be true. I have to be certain, run it again, please."
He was right, if his relief was the best reward I had ever received, taking that from my friend, had to be the severest punishment. We never told Christina. All I could think of when I saw David's result was I couldn't do that, not again, not with this patient. I was furious when I found out she had gone behind my back, but his test were clean. She was right.
As for the mother, she was right there too. I didn't want to give in to here. I wanted to just ignore her, but it came down to trust. She told me to trust her, and I do. She doesn't handle things the right way every time, but she is a damn good nurse. I trust her smarts, her experience, and her instincts. I trust her passion, and the way it drives her to always do what's right for the patient. That's why when I stepped back into the OR, I started the drip.
I feel terrible for yelling at her, even though I often have to remind her she isn't a doctor. I was upset about David, but I shouldn't have implied I think less of her because she is a nurse. On the contrary, I respect her more than some of the doctors. She has out-smarted a few in her time, myself included. She was right and I couldn't deny that, there was no reason not to go ahead and start the drip. I wasn't ready to give in to her face just yet though.
I came to concede to her. I tell her she twisted my arm, and in a way she did. If I didn't trust her, I would have waited to start the drip. If I didn't love her, I wouldn't have told her she was right, or forgiven her for telling David he was in remission. All the things that make me trust her, are what draw me to her. They say the thing that frustrates you most about the one you love is actually the thing you love most about them. I know it to be true. All of the crazy things she does for the good of her patients, it is like a magnet to me. I have to scold her for them as her boss, but that just draws it out of her more. Her indignation, which should just make me angrier, is what makes it impossible to stay mad.
She won't always be right, and on that day I will do all I can to protect her from herself. I will do my best to keep her passion from boiling over. To stop her from doing something that can be undone. But when she asks me if I'm sure, it's all I can do not to give in to that too. She is so beautiful and smart and charming and I fall harder with every argument and friendly banter we exchange. She won't always be right about everything, but I'm pretty sure she will always be right for me.