Great question. I was leaving a visit with Grandpa, driving with my then 3-year old daughter tightly snuggled in the back seat of my Ford Expedition. The chocolate lab, Ella was only 3 months old and I had fastened her in behind the driver's seat, flush on the floor in a crate.
We drove from Calabasas through Malibu Canyon, and had just begun to smell the ocean salt in the air. Ahh. I could breathe.
It was around 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. There was no warning, no screeching of brakes. Only a huge >Crash< and suddenly, we were facing oncoming traffic. I braced myself to be smashed between oncoming traffic and the traffic behind me. My arms tightened on the steering wheel. I instantly heard another >Crash< behind me. I thought we would be crushed.
But nothing happened. Nothing.
In fact, the drivers kept on driving. The cars in front of me parted through the waters of my truck, and the cars behind me drove blankly forward, simply moving over so they could forge on through. Their faces were blank. No eyes, no noses, no mouths. Only a forehead and a chin. No one stopped. No one cared.
The light changed and I ran out of my truck to check on the baby. Cars were whooshing past. The light changed again, and cars came at me again. One lovely man stepped out of his truck to help. By this time, three cars were damaged, I could see. I whipped the back door opened and my daughter looked up at me with those big brown eyes. "Are you okay?" I asked. She looked up from her little toy in her hand. "Yes, Mama."
The door slammed on my right arm, leaving a bruise. I had swung it opened too hard so that it had bounced back at me. "I'd better get out of here," I thought, "She is safe."
Really, I was in a stupor. Seven Police and Sheriffs cars, and two fire engines later, I was sitting on the grassy hills of Pepperdine University. The grass and the sun, the sea gulls and the wind. It was only the way it was, and nothing cared about what happened. That was the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it, and the beginning of a completely different life. I had no idea.
Later, Denise Dador from Channel 7 KABC Los Angeles interviewed me in my Cardiologist's office.
In retrospect, I can look at what I have written here and I know several things. I know it all happened for a reason. It happened so that I could meet thousands of people, and so that I could be a physician in a hospital bed on a Cardiology floor with only gray-haired people. It happened so that I would know what it felt like to be a patient. And so that I would know what it felt like to be a physician in a patient's body. Or was I a patient in a physician's body? The lines were blurred.
There weren't any rules. No one had forged the way. The line between physician and patient was blurred forever more. The physician had become a patient and now I was up for the final conquest,
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