Beyond the Point of No Return

In medicine, when dealing with a severely sick patient, there is a moment when you know there is nothing you can do for that patient. That moment is called death. You struggle, you seek solutions, you do brainstorming with your colleagues, but when the patient is pronounced dead, there is nothing you can do… to undo that state. Death is definitive. Even if some parts of the body still function, even if the conditions for life might be reunited again after some minutes, the last breath remains the last breath and that patient never returns to life. It is like a flower in a vase; once cut from its root, even if it stays apparently alive for days in a row, it can’t return back to life and you know that, despite being so beautiful, it is actually dead. This brings into question why would you offer dead flowers to someone, but this is another story…

Similarly, relationships die. There is a moment in time when the story is over, but the couple keeps staying together despite the obvious death of their partnership. Often, the grief following the death of the relationship is done while still being with the ex partner, and quite often that partner doesn’t become aware of the new state of affairs until he/she catches you cheating or you suddenly leave without a word. This bereavement while still being alive in a couple is both hard to contemplate and difficult to detect in due time. And it starts with one click – often something insignificant – the last drop that causes the overflow.

The moment of death – both physical and relational – is intertwined with an important concept: hope. Hope remains with us until the last moment and enables people to fight until they turn completely irrational, savage or self-sacrificial. It is a massive force that should never be underestimated. Hope has won battles that should have been lost, hope built religions and civilizations, but hope also ruined nations when used mindlessly. It is both a weapon and a slave’s chain. It frees people but it can also keep them imprisoned in delusions.

Being alive and going on with one’s life requires a vigorous ability of self-delusion. One must convince himself/herself that life is worth fighting for if it is to be lived. And for this, one must use hope. No hope means instant death and the beginning of the process of bereavement. Psychologically, if one can’t hope anew, it is as if he/she is dead already. It is a matter of time until the physical death catches up with the psychological death, and in some sad cases physical death can come after many years. What is important is if someone can still use hope, if someone can still enchant oneself – bewitch oneself – that there is still hope somewhere.

Before death there are often warnings. Such as “Romania will reach a point of no return, when the active & educated population between its borders will become insufficient to reinitiate a revival”. Those warnings have been given repeatedly, over many years, to deaf ears. The population and the leaders have slept the sleep of death, so as to paraphrase the national hymn. And guess what!? We have reached the point of no return. And we did nothing. And then we went beyond that point. And today we are here, beyond the point of no return.

The patient has died.

The flower in the vase is dead.

The relationship is over.

Surprised?

Surprised to have finally achieved this?

What did you expect? That an exception will be made especially for us by God or logic or whatever force you might be thinking about?

Right now there are simply too few okay-ish people in this country to help it in any way. Even if God comes here, he can’t do anything about it. It has become impossible to do anything.

Satisfied?

Right now I’m looking at the corpse of what used to be my country. As a doctor whose patient has died, I can’t resuscitate it. You can’t resuscitate a dead body. You can create a Frankenstein but… is that really a nice being?! Also, I went through life quite enough to have the first-hand experience of reinvigorating a relationship so as to know that if it didn’t work well from the beginning, it won’t work at all. What is dead is dead, and if you didn’t do anything to prevent death, or you couldn’t prevent death, there isn’t anything you can do.

You know… I feel tired to write about the horrors I see in my medical practice. Or about the world outside my house. I don’t think it is any longer relevant for anyone, it is sad, and those who left this country are congratulating themselves for their choice after each article I write about the reality I see everyday. Any additional articles I might write would be like fruitless attempts to resuscitate a dead body. Romania is beyond the point of no return and… it deserves it.

You might wonder what caused this article. It is the results of the PISA test I published today here. I could accept that health is poor, that money are being stolen or mismanaged, but when I saw the results, they confirmed what my intuition told me long before: the country is in the lower half of that graph. Or, to put it simple, we are a nation of idiots. The next thought I had was that I do what I do in vain: my medical work, my dedication to my patients, the quality I provide, everything… And then, the next thought was something like this: I’m alone here in this country of idiots…

It was today when I lost hope.

5 thoughts on “Beyond the Point of No Return

  1. Wave

    I am happy to report that I have also reached a difficult point today. It seems like a lot of stress is piling up under the normal looking surface and any minor event like not being able to login to my work computer (whick tracks my attendance) turns into a (temporary hopefully) meltdown.
    I cannot take days off because i finished my 21 days of holiday allowance, and I have urgent reports to turn in. In fact today i need to finish 2 reports and have a meeting with my manager in the middle.
    In my personal life i have a baby under 2 so i guess that there is not a lot of time for me to relax, or this kind of situation would not happen.
    Any advice, based on your experience?

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    1. Well… my advices are usually based on what I see offline, in real life, depending on each case I see in my office. So anything I will say next should be taken with precaution because I don’t know the actual situation you’re into.
      My philosophy is careful planning and almost absurd future control, by taking in consideration everything that might happen. In other words, I develop huge strategies so as to never get into a situation that is similar to the one you’re in right now. That is how I manage things: prevention.
      Right now it seems that you can’t do too many things, so you’re going to continue and see how lucky you are and if you escape or not without nasty consequences (like an angry boss or penalties). But there are things to be learned for the future.
      When you see that stress is piling up, a good idea is to became aware that things are getting crowded and try to structure everything more efficiently. What is important? What is urgent? What can be left for February 2020? What will remain relevant 1 year from now on and what won’t? That is time management and, if you ever came into contact with corporate psychology, you should know it. If not, maybe I’ll write someday about it. Anyway, not everything is equally important or urgent. Making an hierarchy helps.
      Then, when dealing with enormous work, there are 3 options: you start everything and finish nothing, you freak out and start nothing and find someone to blame, and finally, you choose to do what is important/urgent and consciously remove other stuff. I often do this: I reprogram extra patients in other days, I send some of them to other doctors while I’m busy, I weave everyone in my agenda creatively, but at some point I begin to refuse those I know I can’t solve “right now today”. It’s reprioritising following importance/urgency.
      Then, I learned in time to be silent and work fast, but also speak loudly, shout and sometimes be menacing. People in Romania respond well when I play an angry father and less well when I’m democratic and calm. So I’m flexible and change in some sort of marshal or tyrant if required, making the world work and move in my rhythm and not surrendering to the other’s rhythm. That is… I take the lead in a totalitarian style.
      I always leave a couple of holiday days at the end of the year, in case I get sick (a flu for instance) or there is something unexpected. I like to be prepared for the unforeseen. You should have done the same…
      The family doctor can always give you a maximum of 10 days of medical leave in Romania. For more you need a specialist but 10 days are yours. Usually the family doctors understand burnout. If you live in the West you can receive more days for work fatigue. I thought you should know this and perhaps use this if you feel you can’t take it any longer. This type of leave is usually paid. And is a signal for your boss to rethink the amount of work he’s giving to his employees…
      One of the smart things you can do if you’re in a middle position is to delegate. I delegate a lot of my paper work if I must, although I always prefer to do it myself and with my own hands. When there is too much work, I overuse my nurse for paper work and even the patient if he/she must sign papers. Then I reach to the secretary and so on. Always delegate! It’s lifesaving!
      Finally, if everything else fails, I touch the quality of my work. Quality is my trademark and I decrease it only as my last resort. Experience taught me to diagnose in seconds, but the usual interview with the patient lasts many minutes while I ask questions and do some counseling. However, I can do the same thing in 5 minutes. I am paid the same amount. So, if under much pressure, I blitz-function quite easily. Then, on the next visit of the patient when there is enough time, I catch up with the explanations.
      I hope I gave you some ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wave

        Thank you very much for your words Cezar.
        I guess I always thought that burnout is for others and never considered it can happen to me.
        I guess a reorganization of my time/life is in order, and meanwhile, fingers crossed!
        Tomorrow I will call in sick to give myself some time to recover, and will try to do some meditation as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ma intristeaza postarea ta. Razbate deznadejdea. Poate asa este si noi ca natiune suntem un popor de condamnati sa traim in mediocritate si mizerie.
    Dar eu mai am speranta. Mai sunt si oameni inteligenti, onesti, muncitori in aceasta tara. Fac tot ce e posibil sa-i am in preajma.
    Iti multumesc ca impartasesti cu noi framantarile tale. Invat.

    Like

    1. Postarea mea are in spate multi ani traiti in Romania si o familie de optimisti care au murit si tot n-au vazut Marea Schimbare. Pentru ca tragedia sa continue, e nevoie de optimisti care sa spere, sa tina acest sistem putred functional, oameni care sa se sacrifice si sa fie sacrificați, idealisti buni de carne de tun. Nu cred ca mai sunt oameni onesti in tara. E o coruptie de 100%. Cred ca mai sunt cativa muncitori. Inteligenti au mai ramas doar cei prea bătrâni sa plece afara. In ultimul an am inteles, fiind parte din Sistem, multe lucruri pe care nu le stiam sau înțelegeam inainte. Asta m-a scarbit profund, mai ales cand vad ca si eu devin nemilos si arogant ca si sistemul din care fac parte si pe care il reprezint. In fiecare zi in care asist la nenumarate mizerii facute din dorinta excesiva de bani, revin acasa si imi spun mie insumi: banii nu sunt totul. Nu stiu cat timp voi mai crede asta. Poate ca a avea bani si putere este singurul meu moment de strălucire din aceasta viata mediocră?!… De meditat. 🙂

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