There are three of us that have worked together for about twenty-five years. We don't necessarily socialize, but we are there for each other. We are Friends; we have gone through hard times with each other, professionally and personally, we know each others families, we counseled each other during those tough parenting years, we have experienced losses of mutual friends and coworkers.
In Medicine, especially Emergency Department medicine, coworkers form a unique bond as they deal with life and death, major and minor ills in the old and the young, all of them in a crisis of one kind or another. We have learned to work together to stop the bleeding, start the heart, lower the fever, raise the blood pressure, stop the pain, or find the infection. Then we comfort the dying, the families, the staff, and each other. Our friendships are not ordinary, they have the characteristics of the Brotherhood of the Battlefield. We are the Old Soldiers, we have stories, battle scars, and even some shrapnel to remind us of the way it was. So now, we must give way to the young guns, the new generation full of youth and enthusiasm and knowledge, who will take Medicine on to greater heights.
I sat with my Friend yesterday as he told me about his newly diagnosed, rare disease. His life is ending, sooner than he planned. My other Friend fights, without complaint or bitterness, a relentless autoimmune disorder that would knock the sap out of a lesser woman. And, ugly MS symptoms try to take me out of the race, as well. What a team!! But we were really something, back in the day....
We three, the Healers, have become the patients. And so it goes, the wheel keeps turning. It is hard to watch my friends go through this dark valley. They are both so vital, so full of love, life, and faith. They still have so much to offer the world; they are needed by their families and friends, and coworkers, and patients. It seems horribly ironic. Healers should be healed. But, we know too well that life is unfair, we have seen it over and over again in the ER these last two and a half decades. There are no guarantees for any of us.
We are the "Bucketeers". Our "Bucket Lists" are real. We will live with no regrets, we will do the things that we have always wanted to do, say the things that need to be said, visit old friends, write letters, take pictures, build memories for our families. We will laugh and cry without reservation, feel every feeling that comes our way, watch the sun rise and then set as many times as possible, each time with the same awe and wonder as the first. We will live until we die. Then, we will get together in the Hereafter, and do it all over again..... with wings.