Undervalued and Under Fire

“But when I’m down and feeling blue, I close my eyes so I can be with you.”

It’s been a bloody couple of weeks in my city with increased violence and the usual traumas rolling in with the warmer weather. I worked more than I planned; cutting into my running schedule.  Even out of the hospital I took on whatever is needed when it’s needed; having to resuscitate a couple of people on the street; thankful that I was in the right place at the right time with the right training. I don’t do this job for thanks and I never “take off” my surgeon/physician role.

Though it’s National Physician’s Week, my hospitals have noted our contributions to their bottom line with a sign or two in the lobby/cafeteria, my colleagues in education have been more than willing to devalue my education/training and teaching. The Dean I am supposed to work under continues to negate my work at every turn; addressing everyone in the room as “Doctor” but addressing me by my Christian name; refusing to acknowledge my current projects.

Still, I press onward with the benefit of thousands of hours of treating the most critical, the gravely injured, teaching and research in areas barely understood by most people. I see that my students are thriving and I am acknowledged outside of my institution. I am grateful for my education and work; gifts for me.

I understand as a woman of color, that society in this country sees me as worthless. I always created my on worth, asking the questions that needed to be asked; finding answers to those questions. I also understand as a biracial woman, that my brown skin, green eyes and grey hair are ugly to most in this society. Still, I am grateful for my health, my ability to run and my sense of exploration.

The fortunate aspects of being no value to anyone is that I have a great place to observe humanity. As I held pressure on a gaping wound, I made the necessary repairs; the patient lives with an extremity intact; full function to return with rehabilitation. As I moved from one case to the next, my work now choreography with prayers of thanks thrown in. My surgical cases done with a perfection I never imagined in the early years of my career. My mind takes in every aspect of my patients care as I can touch them and comfort them along with repairing their physical wounds.

My work is not about how society sees me, a biracial woman surgeon but how I can give my complete mind and soul to my work. As I become stronger every day, I become faster and I am more under fire; of no matter but appreciative for what I have.


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