Separation anxiety, heat intolerance north of the Arctic circle, and conversations with a sculptor/hunter


There’s a way of emotional grieving

When the time comes close for the leaving

     Separation anxiety

     Transcends all piety

Culture, and language, and believing.

The young man I attended gave me permission to write this information.  He came in with his supervisor after an on-the- job injury.  While treating him, we talked.  He’s an apprentice hunter, he holds a steady job, and he’s a sculptor with aspirations of doing animation.  He face sparkles when he talks. 

He makes tiny statues of people that he puts in corners where people do not expect to see them.   His sculptures adorn both home and workplace.

We talked about the artist’s moment; for him it’s watching the face of someone who noticed his art for the first time, seeing the reaction and delight.  For me, as a musician, it’s watching peoples’ heads bob in time to the music, even if they’re ignoring me as a musician. 

As a writer, I would like to think that people chuckle when they read the limerick, and, having been hooked, can’t stop reading till they get to the end.

We also talked about gill net fishing and subsistence hunting.

One of the perks of Barrow hanging out with hunters all day.

At morning conference today we talked about how maternal and paternal alcohol use contributes to schizophrenia later in life.

We exchange a lot of information in morning conference.  We talk about patients by name.  We talk about clinical problems.   I get much education from my colleagues. 

I brought up a particular patient with recurrent right lower quadrant pain whose CT showed a normal appendix.  I expressed my concerns that the image might not have had adequate resolution to show a carcinoid (a low grade malignancy occasionally found in the appendix).  It turned out that everyone around the conference table had taken care of the patient at one time or another and we all agreed the appendix needed to come out.

I am coming to the end of my tenure here tomorrow, and today I developed separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a universal human emotion.  It’s the reason roommates fight at the end of the school year or spouses fight just before one goes on a trip.  I knew that I would have it when the time for me to leave came close.   Bethany’s presence buffered the intensity.

Today the weather turned warm (fifty-one Farenheit), the wind stopped and the sun came out.  The heat in the outpatient area became intolerable, and I went to maintenance and complained three times.  I probably wouldn’t have been emotional in my declaration of impossibility of working conditions if it hadn’t happened towards the end of my tenure. 

I think the reason people have separation anxiety is because it softens the pain of emotional loss.  It’s a way of saying, “I have plenty reason to be mad at that person/institution.  So I won’t miss him/her/it when they’re/I’m gone.”

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2 Responses to “Separation anxiety, heat intolerance north of the Arctic circle, and conversations with a sculptor/hunter”

  1. CHARLIE MILES Says:

    I had seperation anxiety when you left your practice, however keeping up with you on your blog has kept the symptoms minimal!

    I’m looking forward to your next adventure!

    Charlie

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