I stared at the scarf in my hands. Silk. Embroidered. A soft bluish gray. I bought it in Italy a few weeks prior for a stupidly expensive sum.

He owed me. I wanted to make him pay.

I had not worn it even once but now I found myself staring at a gaping hole in the fabric. The damn thing was never as perfect as I had thought. I felt sick. Revenge shopping. It was not worth it.

I deserved that.

In medicine you see the price that is paid for bad decisions. They are paraded before you day after day. You think you are smart enough to learn from it, that it will never happen to you.

Until it does. 

You realize too late, while in the ER staring at a loved one, how close you really are to tipping over that ledge yourself.

Just one more drink, right? It won’t hurt anything, he said, and I wanted to believe it. Another glass was always placed in my hand and I never, ever said no.

I liked you better after you had a glass of wine. Or two. Or three. Hell, I liked myself better, truthfully.

The perfect life, the perfect spouse, the perfect kids, the perfect house, the perfect job…. Utterly unattainable. No matter how much you want them, they simply do not exist. So much of depression is actually disappointment, not being able to accept this reality.

This is not supposed to be MY life…

All of the anger I carried around for so long? Wasted. Just like all of that money on the stupid scarf. I never told him but his fall probably saved my life, too. 


96 thoughts on “Punishment 

  1. Well said, my blogger friend. Sad, but true. We’re glad you’re here to share your insights with us.

    Your third to last paragraph reminded me of what some wise feminist said — or, if not, then should have said: “You may be able to have all those things, but not at the same time.” I also remember a colleague of mine explaining why she didn’t garden: “I decided to raise my kids first, and later on, raise my garden.” But, even so, life doesn’t always unfold on our terms. In fact, it rarely does. We earn wisdom when we learn that — usually the hard way.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I am becoming more and more convinced that a part of you lives inside of me…inside my head where I am thinking about the living of all these same things yet not giving voice to them for so many reasons. Uncanny coincidence or something more…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was finally brought to my life mate a few years after my husband died. The man I was married to was not my choice, but due to extreme circumstances in my life was forced into a marriage which I honored and fulfilled for 34 years. Those times in and of itself changed my life and inner being forever. I was 16 and he was 23 and would not let me go. I survived years of emotional and mental abuse. There was bad and some good, but in the end it tempered my spirit and trained me in a path I would not have chosen. In the end it was better for me and prepared me for the man who would be the love of my earthly life. Sometimes God holds the best for last. What a gift. I would not have had the ability to see this one, had my life been on it’s rebellious and superficial course. I am grateful.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fortunately, my younger generation can choose our life partners (hubs) too bad you were in an abusive, forceful relationship however you came out with a good attitude. Back in the day, many woman were in your boat some did not fair out as well. I am with the hubs I should be and father to my 5 children. I would not have it any other way!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. 💛 We live and learn what to and what not to accept.. But it sure is a bumpy ride..
    And the Doc has writing skills to relate to our own lives..
    You are a healer in and out of your practice.. You are good medicine 👍

    Liked by 4 people

  4. When we seek to wash ourselves in pure love and forgiveness, the need to hurt ourselves or anything or anyone else fades into cleansing waters of freedom. Freedom from the chains that so easily bind us in this mentally challenging world. Looking through rose colored glasses is not always a bad thing. I now call it my God colored glasses. He gives you a different perspective. Taking off those chains one at a time, takes practice and commitment. At first it is hard work to love the unlovable to forgive the unforgivable. This does not make one a doormat for abuse by others or by oneself, it disengages the chains that can bind our every move. Sometimes one must brush the dust from the feet and move on to a calmer and gentler place within and without. I have been many things bound in chains, depressed, angry, hating, wanting revenge, wanting to destroy something and often destroying myself. Once I let go and let God take all of it and just relaxed and went with the flow, my healing began with baby steps. Blessing unto you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t help but notice your stats today Victo. Two and a half hours after posting you had 80 “likes” and 15 comments. When you write about patient cases your number of comments goes up considerably – I have seen you with 200 comments. Interesting. I have noticed though that when a personal truth is pointed out (such as ‘You realize too late, while in the ER staring at a loved one, how close you really are to tipping over that ledge yourself.’) that many will take notice and will remember but won’t comment. I’ve had a few of those epiphanies in life and they are hard to get a discussion started. I know that people pay attention and that it sinks in – I’ve seen it before- they just refrain from commenting for some reason. Course I’m ready to run my mouth at the slightest provocation. 😀 Very interesting and thoughtful post Victo – I enjoyed it very much. Maybe it’s my history but I rejoice whenever I see a doctor exhibiting human qualities – Bwahaha!! I try to encourage it. 😀 Cheer up,you’re a doctor now:

    Liked by 4 people

  6. JD’s depression definitely stems from disappointment. Sometimes I can let it roll over me without touching me. Other times I want to grab him by the throat and shake him because WTF does he have to be disappointed about really? Sigh.

    Sorry Doc, this was brilliant. Touched a nerve I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think one of the things about contentment is changing your expectations. That does not come easily for some, including myself. I would not have gone to med school if I had been happy with the status quo, but the rest of my life would be so much happier if I could let certain things go! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I love the very first paragraph (I also loved the entire piece), the imagery is beautiful and it only increases in meaning as I read throughout the piece. I really like the “I liked you better when you had a glass of wine…” part. I like how you did not tell but you showed the tension by writing that one line, and from that one line I was able to imagine and feel the tension.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Someone wrote that you have fewer comments when you write about personal experiences. But heck I don’t know if this is a work of fiction or reality. YOU are that good. But back to fewer/less comments regarding certain subjects. It is true. This is one time that I am going to comment when I am having a hard time with the right words. Your writing is so profound and thought provoking that it becomes a chore for me to find the right words so I suppose this sort of post is a back-handed compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

      • That lack of response on matters that are powerful yet uncomfortable surprises even the professionals sometimes Victo. At one point in my life I rolled a tractor-trailer when stopped on a roadside when the ground gave way under one side. The company’s insurance company withdrew from Canada (co-incidentally) at the same time and a gov’t agency called the Superintendent of Insurance took over the insurance business for the withdrawing company. They kept it quiet as they tried to sell it – they said so that the premium payers would not leave. They continued to collect premiums and payed no claims – to build reserves. Meanwhile I was trying to get a settlement for repairs and couldn’t figure out why there was no money forthcoming when I had never had a claim. Then the gov’t could not find a buyer so they closed the insurance company. They paid out about 10 cents on the dollar for claims – after 7 years had passed. When I discovered what they had done, I screamed bloody blue murder and went to my lawyer He said he could likely win a case but the gov’t would drag it out to the Supreme Court and it would cost 10 times what I lost and take 5 years; I went to my Member of Parliament with a CBC reporter in tow and he was very kind, said I was right, it was unfair but that no changes would be made because the insurance companies helped elect the gov’t; I went to the Insurance board and they said they were addressing future issues by establishing a fund for closing companies – which they never did; I finally realized no one was going to help so I went to the newspaper and the editor was delighted.She warned me that if they did a piece , that I would get nasty phone calls and abusive responses. I told her to go ahead – and she published a 2 page special starting on the front page of the second section on Saturday and she was nasty to the gov’t and the insurance industry. Not one peep – from anyone. I point out to people that in Canada insurance is not insured – that the insurance certificate for your hone, your car, you health, etc – none have any value if the company chooses not to pay and the gov’t will support the insurance company..In fact the law is written to deliberately screw over the policy holder and allow the insurance company to leave with profit. It is simply fraud – and it is legal, government sponsored fraud. And the worst was that the insurance company – Carrier, a subsidiary of United technologies , an huge American conglomerate that is best known for their military manufacturing ($56 billion in 2015) – just retreated to the US ,they lost nothing. Surprise. i lost $50,000 which was everything I had and walked away with debt that I paid off slowly for years.

        Anyway, my point is that when you write about that which is unsettling to others,they listen but they don’t say anything. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  9. You can always whistle that one song. “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”

    I sometimes fall back on Miles Davis’ “So What.” Like saying “so what of it?” Then you curse or pray and move on if you still have a will to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Love without consequences. Love without commitment. A love that doesn’t exist.”

    Spoken by, believe it or not, Bruce Springsteen a couple of weeks ago when introducing a song. It hit me so hard. Don’t know why it did and I don’t know why this reminded me of it.

    I’m a very light drinker and have always been amazed at the way some folks try to get me to drink MORE. As if I’ll have a better time.

    You’re killing this blog thing. I’m jealous but it’s a healthy envy. Envy born from admiration. Not selfishness. I consider it real progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, thank you for the jealousy. That is a huge complement since as you know, I respect your blogging/writing skills. Second, Springsteen can be quite the philosopher, can’t he?


    • Blessings Bernadette!
      I don’t think is so much of being the sum of these things, but what we have been able to learn or perceive by the journey. Some things are better to discard and move past and others things are to learn and grow and in time cherish. So much of our early focus is on what we can get or see now (instant gratification) and we are not often given early childhood lessons on patience and self analyzing cause and effect. We so often fumble through this life and failed to heed wisdom already passed on. We think we know everything and end up trudging through that same trough others have fallen into. Ahhh, the young minds, full of self importance and no thought to just how fragile we are. I think upon the times I was teaching my sons to drive. I would drive them through the subdivision (with learners permit) and gave them additional instructions to what we covered in the manuals to get their certificate. I would distract my sons with conversation and then they would inevitably run a stop sign and I would shout “BAMM! WE ARE DEAD!!”. The fright in their eyes and look on their faces gave emphasis on the importance of what their focus should have been on and my point of having NO friends or passengers in the vehicle for at least 6 months was set. It may sound horrible to do that to my sons, but better to learn and live with a mistake that is not tragic. Of course each one pulled over after the incident to calm down and then we quickly discussed how they felt and what they learned from this experience. Too often, we send our children out into a world that says one thing and does another. I tried to send my sons out into a world which I explained is a journey with good and bad and we must ask ourselves each day how I got here, how this did happen or what if I did this or that and how would that come out? I talked to to my sons about everything and they trusted me and I gave them the information and facts and ultimately let them know they had to make decisions and be prepared to learn and grow.
      I wish I had a life like that, but in retrospect, I learned so many hard lessons that I had a wealth of experience to share with my sons. They did not go out unprepared.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I believe you are a medical professional of some kind, Victo, but are you really a doctor? We have only the word of an anonymous blogger for it. One reason for my doubts is the amount of time it must take to post and respond to so many comments. I guess this is a rhetorical question because you can’t really answer it without blowing your identity. It’s just that I’m a born skeptic, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The draw back of being anonymous is that some people may doubt. I am cool with that. It may give you some peace to know that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up and I am contemplating how long I can continue to blog.


      • You misunderstand me, Victo. I wouldn’t be reading your blog if I didn’t find it interesting, even educational. You have a definite skill in describing the intersection of medicine and patient and,I must say, you get some interesting comments as well. I hope you continue.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I had to chuckle at this response (copied and pasted below) because so many are skeptical of anyone and everything, except famous persons and names. The hazards of the society and the cultural technologies we are swimming in these days. I suppose one could ask the person commenting, “Is that really a picture of you? Or are you impersonating someone else?” The other response could be “Are you really writing to inquire on a pure level of interest, to find out how a very busy professional can keep up with all the demands of schedules and yet still finding time to share?”. But instead I see a human slight that is almost imperceptibly challenging the author of the page to qualify the authenticity of not only what she is, but her body of work and the time which has been spent in the sharing. One would ask oneself, if it were a name of some famous person or actor, if that would have ever been questioned. My personal thoughts are “What the hell difference does it make? And If she, being a doctor with a busy and challenging career can spend time sharing experiences that make a difference….where is the line to learn how she does it?!!”
    (I believe you are a medical professional of some kind, Victo, but are you really a doctor? We have only the word of an anonymous blogger for it. One reason for my doubts is the amount of time it must take to post and respond to so many comments. I guess this is a rhetorical question because you can’t really answer it without blowing your identity. It’s just that I’m a born skeptic, I guess. comment by Jim Wheeler)

    Liked by 1 person

    • @ endatymes,

      Seems I touched a nerve there. I say that it does make a difference. The world is swimming with cons and scams of all kinds. I get calls from India wanting to fix my computer and from Jamaica telling me that I’ve won prize money. Identity theft is rife. Snopes.com is one of my favorite sites, and it’s eye-opening. All that said, I’m not denying that Victo’s web site is interesting, if a bit voyeuristic. I just think skepticism is mentally healthy. So, just speculating here, I can imagine the author being someone with a medical background, or perhaps one in psychology, writing this as an effort to understand the social dynamic between patient and doctor, perhaps even in the interest of helping medical students understand the respective psychological roles.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Not one nerve hit if that was the intent. In my effort to make a small point in observation on a level of playing a devil’s advocate, the challenge is to keep an open mind while gathering information and perceiving many outcomes and strategies. Depending on the point at which words and the thoughts being project are based on, the intent of those expression can have a multitude of responses or reactions. Of course the one expressing sets the point and intent of that projection. The purpose of comments are to express ideas, feelings and incite reaction. These are in part the media in which humans are able to fulfill part of their heart’s desire. The desire to provoke thought and thereby the possibility to promote action. We send out and wait to receive. For many in this material world, seeing is believing. But I will tell you seeing can be deceiving.
        Are there cons and thieves and all sorts of manipulations and deceits? Yes, but to become cynical about everything and everyone leaves a person in an untenable position. To be able to identify that which is known to be good and take from it what you may to prosper your mind and soul is not a bad thing. Deep down, we all know what is good and evil, bad or good. The position of trying to maintain a cynical stance only slides the mind into a narrow view point, which may miss something of truth and value. A con only succeeds because the one falling into the delusion is a heart that is greedy. A thief succeeds because he takes advantage of those who are not vigilant. These are creatures that only take advantage of that which is open to them.
        I am commanded to be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove. That doesn’t mean I, you or we must be stupid. To let constant thoughts of worries over that which is corrupt and always will be, can block a person from relaxing in the freedom of knowing and yet still loving and enjoying those parts which are good and decent. Those who are blind most often want to be blind. Those who don’t hear don’t always want to hear. We cannot force them to think for themselves, because they either want to hide their heads in the sand or don’t know any better.
        Hence my tag name Endatymes. I warn, encourage and try to promote understanding. But in this, I take from this life great pleasure and joy in spite of all that is going on around me. Be at peace brother and use your knowledge and wisdom to help keep you vigilant, but at the same time enjoy life a little. Your time and my time here are short. Live life and love. Blessings and Peace be unto you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am not threatened by anyone doubting who I am or what I do here or in real life. Skepticism is healthy. Patients question what I do and say all the time and it is a good, constructive thing. Though, it is a bit disturbing to have someone feel that a physician cannot do this. Blogging itself is not the hard part. The hard part is trying to keep up with everyone else’s blogs! I just cannot do that reliably anymore and I feel awful about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a pet theory that he only thing in our lives we can control are our reactions to what it throws at us. I’ve come to regard it as a kind of tour. I try to make the most of the views, the sensations, the relationships and the sites while they’re there.

    Lovely post.



    Liked by 1 person

  14. Revenge shopping? I had never heard of that. 🙂
    Revenge is a waste of time.
    The portrait in the picture is Henry IV, King of France, murdered by a vengeful fanatic.
    Don’t know which castle it is? Chenonceau?

    Liked by 1 person

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