Saturday, November 13, 2010
he left me a message on my voicemail on my birthday. i had been out hiking with the dogs and although in a fog, he had figured out how to dial from Germany to the US to wish me a happy birthday; something he had typically failed to do in the past when he was healthier. then several days later i was able to call him back and talk with him, but he was quite ill and confused. he did recognize my voice though, and i could tell that he was happy that i had called.
to put it simply: they do things differently in Germany than they do in the USA. and nothing seems simple. especially when you are trying to negotiate a delicate situation in your second-language. we had to plan a funeral, deal with a house, and bills, and reams of old paperwork. it's the kind of thing you really don't want to deal with ever in life, let alone when your dad has not written out a Last Will and Testament. German bureaucratic paperwork that takes an eternity to accomplish was seeming to us like it would never be brought to completion. and we were in the midst of a three-day holiday weekend, where everything comes to a virtual standstill.
i got home Friday night, and turned around on Sunday to drive to my new job in Nevada. a six hour drive from Salt Lake City through the desert, when all i really wanted to do was lie in bed. but hours alone in the car (not really alone--i had the two dogs with me) gives one time to clear the head. and after a half a day, i arrived in Tonopah, NV.
just when i thought things could not get worse, i stepped into my own little version of Hell. the apartment that i had been set up to live in while on my three-month travel assignment turned out to be a total shit-hole. i made an honest effort to clean it before getting "settled in", but in reality i was really glad to have my Hepatitis immunizations up to date. i took the dogs around the back of the building for a pee-break, and was afraid i would find old hypodermic needles amongst the cigarette butts and old burned out car wrecks. after one night in the place, my lungs burned from the 30-odd years of old, stale cigarette smoke in the place. one of the dogs peed on the carpet, and i didn't bother to clean it up--that's how bad it was. i had to get out.
i went to work at the hospital, my first day, and was delighted to find that i am working with probably one of the most brilliant rural emergency and internal medicine doctors in the nation, if not in the world. Dr. S is an Italian-American with a limitless amount of energy and determination. i will learn so much from this man, and am so honored that he feels i am up for the task of partnering with him in his practice for the next three months.
i've hardly had time to process all of these swings in emotions. my chest feels like the Upheaval Dome--a deep emptiness lies within my chest: an inverted crater which is being filled up with love and confidence from those around me.
we never really know what we have until something is taken away. we never really know what our potential is until we are placed in a new environment. like the sign in Dr. S's office says, "if you think you may have just entered hell, keep going... " yes, it does get better.