Monday, March 11, 2013

Music Lyrics Monday: Only brokenhearted.

I'm young, but I'm wise enough to know
That you don't fall in love overnight
That's why I thought if I took my time
That everything in love would be right

But as soon as I closed my eyes
I was sayin' to love goodbye
But I guess I'm only

Brokenhearted, life's not over
I can start again
While I'm only brokenhearted
It's a hurting thing to get over

No more empty conversations
Next time I will be totally sure
Don't want the pain of falling in and out of love
It's more than my poor heart should endure
So I listen to all advised 
And remember each time I cry. . . . 

That I guess I'm only brokenhearted
life's not over
I can start again

While I'm only brokenhearted
It's a hurting thing to get over
starting all over again...

~ Brandy "Only brokenhearted"


You are trying to shake things. Bad things. Like addictions and toxic relationships that have ruined your young life as you know it. But you took a step to shake those things. Trying your best to spin your merry-go-round hard enough to throw them off. Shake them off. For good.

"Hey there," I said to you on rounds that day. I picked my words carefully. Hoping you'd hear them as nonjudgmental ones opening the floor to you. And ones that would make you feel like you were healing.

You looked up and nodded.Your eyes were swollen from crying. Your lip quivering. In the tiniest voice you answered me. "Hey."

"What's wrong?" I asked. Simple enough. I asked because you were upset. Not just the regular upset that I'd been seeing since you'd been trying to shake the things you need to shake but a different kind of upset. Too upset to ignore.

"I'm okay," you answered.

"Hmmm. You don't really look okay."

And when I said that you started to weep. Your young face twisting into a desperate snarl and your chest shaking rhythmically. Turning into your pillow you tried to muffle it but the way your shoulders vibrated there was no hiding it.

Instinctively I sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed your back with my hand. I wasn't fully sure what was going on today but I was sorry. I'd been doing this long enough to know that people who are shaking things often find a world filled with harsh realities when they step out of that cloud. Those things are hard to shake, too.

"I'm sorry."  I left it there. I had already checked your vital signs and lab work. Yes, I needed to do the technical parts of your examination still, but it could wait. The idea of searching a heavy heart with my cold stethoscope right now just seemed wrong.

"I'm just. . . . so . . . .sad." And with that word "sad" the tears came harder, stronger. I kept my hand on your back and watched you. You took in a big sigh and sat up and then pressed your stubby thumb and fore finger into the corners of your eyes--freezing there for a beat. Then, like a light switch flicking, your breathing increased to a pant and the tears came on once more.

And just then it clicked.

I wanted to be sure so I stayed silent and studied you a bit more. Uncontrolled bouts of tears and despair. I knew what this was. Yes, of course I did. And this diagnosis didn't call for a medical degree at all.

"Your heart is broken?"

And when I said that you dropped your hands and looked at me intently confirming the answer.

"Damn. I'm sorry."  And I admit that I did use that word--damn--because being a twenty-something with that kind of a broken heart is the kind of thing that word calls for even if it isn't exactly the most professional one.

"He's going to find someone better. Someone different and prettier and better than me. And I'm going to be all alone and feeling like this." Now you were just talking but those fat tears were still rolling down your cheeks.

I felt bad for you. Bad because you'd taken huge steps toward recovery and moving past certain things and people would be necessary for it all to stick. A broken heart would be one of the casualties of war.

"I know you feel that way now," I finally spoke, "but you know? It can and will get better. The broken heart part. I know this from experience."

"I don't think it will. This was the love of my life. I know some part of me will always be wishing we were together."

I raised my eyebrows and turned one corner of my mouth upward. "Hmmm."

You bent your elbow over your eyes and wept some more. "I hate feeling this way. I hate it."

"I know." I rubbed your back and said it again. "I know."

Because I did know. Not about shaking the chemical things you were shaking but yes, I did know about being a twenty-something with that kind of heartache. And damn, I wish I had some kind of panacea to make it better. But if I did, I'd be a very, very rich woman.

"Why do I have to feel like this? How do I even start feeling better?"

I looked at your face and smiled. "Time."

You glanced over at me and I could tell that you hoped I was right.

"Can I tell you a story?" I asked. You looked intrigued. "Okay. Let me tell you a story about when I was a first year medical student." You propped yourself up in bed and, for the first time since I'd been there, I saw the teeniest flicker of a smile.

"Once upon a time, there was a first year medical student named Kimberly. And she met this boy and it was love at first sight. For reals. Love at very first sight. And so they sort of fell in love. Yeah, they did. So they spent every waking hour together. Like, every waking hour. They studied together. They hung out together. They ate together. You name it, they were together for it. But there was just one very slight problem."

"What?" you gasped.

"Oh. Well, turns out he sort of had a girlfriend. See, she was out of town and he had kind of made it seem like she was . . .uhh. . . .black history."

"Black history?"

I laughed. "Black history. As in, not his girlfriend anymore. But turns out that that part was a lie."

"And boys never, ever lie to us."

"Oh noooo. Not when we're twenty they don't."

You chuckled at that.

"Okay, so the girlfriend comes back and -- did I mention? She was older than this first year medical student named Kimberly. And she made it quite clear that she was not EVEN black history but instead modern art. And she told me that our little affair would someday be no more than a 'blink on the radar' in their lives together."


"Ouch is right. It didn't end pretty. The boy--who I was convinced was the love of my life back then--ended our relationship. And you talk about sad? Baby, you think you're sad? No. You're happy compared to how I was."

You smiled at the analogy. I did, too.

"So, I climbed in bed and cried for no less than 72 hours straight. And then my best friends came over and told me that I would have to eat and drink because without it, I'd die. And I told them that I was already dying. But they made me eat and drink anyway. And finally, after eating something, I had enough strength to predict my future."

"You did?"

"Yep. And my future was pretty bleak." I laughed at the thought. "I told them in the most pathetic voice ever, 'I just have to accept that my life is going to have an empty part in it forever. And that I will always, always, always be in love with someone that I couldn't ever be with. And some day I will meet someone and get married but it will be sad because that person won't even realize that my heart is really tied to another person. That I'm in love with. For, like, ever."

Now all of the tears had dried on your face and you were giggling. "So? Is that the case?"


"Did you ever get over him?"


"The boy that you were in love with!"

"Oooohhhh! Him? Girl, please. He was black history not even three months after that."

We both cackled out loud, slapping hands and knees while sitting on your bed.

"Really? Three months?"

"Yep. And ask me when was the last time I worried about that guy."


I looked at my watch and squinted my eyes. "Uhhhh. . . . nineteen hundred and ninety three." Out came the laughter again and that was good. Good because you felt better. And better was my goal all along.

"You know what, Dr. Manning? This is the best I've felt since I've been in the hospital."

And I reached over the bed and gave you a big hug because it just felt called for.

After that, I examined your body and reviewed the medical parts of the plan with you. And then, as I prepared to leave, I took your hand and told you things would be okay.

"I hope so. No, I think so," you replied.

"You know? Everybody can't go."

You looked puzzled.

"My husband always says that to me. Sometimes when your life is moving in a certain direction, some people have to get left behind for you to move ahead. Everybody can't go."

You repeated those words. "Everybody can't go."

"No, they cannot."

You sighed hard and gave a strong nod of affirmation. "I got it."

"You got it?"

"I got it."

We sealed that with a fist bump and I went on to seeing the rest of my patients.

I love this job.

Happy Monday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . .perfect for Music lyrics Monday.


  1. And on that day you were Big Sister/Mama Doctor.
    I love that.

  2. I can only hope that if I or someone close to me need that kind of talk that YOU are the Doc in charge. You are one amazing lady! Thanks for the wonderful story.

  3. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing your sensitivity, warmth and caring! Thank you for sharing your husbands wisdom "Everyone can't go." I am going to pass that wonderful advise along to my daughter today.

    You are one very special woman!

    ~Chris A~

  4. Everybody can't go. That is the best life advice I've ever heard, and put so succinctly. Some roads you have to travel alone, to get where you need to go.
    Beautiful post. Again, you amaze me with your heart.

  5. Please tell the BHE that I am so going to use his advice "Everybody can't go.". I love those pearls of wisdom and I especially love that you shared them with your young, struggling patient. Your personal story, along with that wisdom, might have made all the difference in her life. Or not. But I so admire you for taking the chance and putting it out there...
    Love, Coach B

  6. From the deck of the Poop,

    As ole PoopDeck read this, he, of course thought about his Dr KD crying and wishing he was there to fix it. Then I thought one of my most favorite songs that still makes me cry. Regina Belle singing a Nancy Wilson classic " If I could". There's a line that says " I would help you through the hungry years, but I know I can never cry your tears, but I would if I could".
    Great post and I gotta get up and go blow my nose.....
    Love you a bunch


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