They say doctors know how to deal with pain. I guess it is true in a way. After all, we are doctors so that we could deal with others’ pain. Personal pain, well, it depends on what kind of pain. Being the clumsy person that I am, physical pain is nothing new. I won’t even begin to list the accidents that happened to me. But I dealt with the pain from those clumsy accidents every time. That’s only physical pain though. Emotional pain, now that’s a different story…
He closes the door to the oncology ward, already mentally writing up the report for the day. Two more cases of diagnosed leukaemia, Martin Schwarzig’s chemotherapy proved to be useless, and little Gemma Ward had passed away at 5:18 this afternoon. A load of depressing stuff to write up, but Evan Alexander is used to it. He has to be.
Walking down the spotless corridor of the hospital, Evan suddenly feels the need to get away from it all, from the underlying sights, smells and sounds of sickness masked with soft radio music and a load of disinfectant. He quickens his pace. Down the steps. Turn right. Past the maternity ward. Evan asks himself the same old question as he passes rooms of gleeful parents and their newborn child. Why oncology? Why not welcome lives to the world instead of watching them fall apart and finally disappear?
Taking long strides towards the shared office of all the doctors on shift, he slips through the glassy door. Finally. He sinks into his swivel chair, closing his eyes for one blessed moment. But the moment doesn’t last. Overhead the ticking of the clock urges Evan to take pen to paper and write the damn thing already. Wearily he reaches for a notepad and a pen, and begins to write down the daily report. His pen glides on the smooth piece of paper, his strong hand inscribing the horrid tales of disease and death without a pause. A decade ago his pen would’ve shook writing about these things. But Evan Alexander has learnt over the years that procedures are procedures. He can’t get too emotional over each case, each patient, each tragedy. Not if he wants to stay sane.
Finishing up the dreary report with handwriting that is barely legible, Evan glances at his watch. 11:29. One more minute and his shift would be over. He stands and takes in his hand the dreadful pieces of paper. Walking briskly to the filing cabinet, he shoves the whole report in, eager to get rid of the evidence of his hospital life. Thirty more seconds and his shift would be over. He strides back to the desk, clearing up pens and shuffling the papers into one neat pile. His hand knocks against the desk calendar, with its filled in days and full nights, sending in flying off the desk top. Picking it up from the vinyl floor, he sees that it is Saturday today.
Saturday. He should be at home with his family, watching some corny Disney movie, not here working. Jude would probably be asleep when he gets home; and Tilly would be waiting at the dinner table with sleepy eyes and a cold plate for him. It’s not supposed to be like this. A year back, before he took this job at Rosewood Hospital, Tilly and he would always have the stereos on and a glass of wine to share on Saturday nights, after Jude falls asleep of course. Maybe it isn’t too late for him to rush into the liquor store and grab a bottle of wine before going home...
Evan walks absentmindedly to the coat stand, still thinking about Tilly. It’s already 11:33, his shift has ended somewhere during his reminiscing moments. He needs to get out fast, if he wants any chance of getting the wine and be home before his wife falls asleep. Taking the worn brown coat off the coat stand, he begins to pull it on.
“Evan, you better come now,” Shanyn rushes in, her nurse uniform askew.
Evan Alexander pauses, his coat halfway on. He considers taking his coat off and rushing to the emergency ward to tend to yet another patient, but a need to get home wins him over. Evan shrugs on his coat, buttons it and heads for the exit.
“Sorry Shaz, my shift’s off five minutes ago. Callum should be able to see to the emergency though,” he says, stepping out into the numbing July night.
He frowns when Shanyn’s gloved hand grips his shoulder, pulling him back into the hospital. Bloody hell, it’s 11:35 so let me go home already, he thinks. His face betrays his annoyance as he tries to remove Shanyn’s hand. She holds on fast.
“What is it Shaz?”
She bites her lips, hating herself for what she has to say.
“Evan, you better come now. It’s your wife and kid in the emergency room.”