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I have met a lot of anxious people in my professional work teaching math to adults. Ever calm and patient, I would work with math-anxious students to help them manage the often-overwhelming anxiety they felt trying to make sense of a subject I loved, trying to help them feel more at ease taking tests. We’d talk about strategies to help them relax their minds and bodies so they could access all the knowledge I knew they had inside.
As for myself, feeling anxious wasn’t part of who I thought I was.
My friend commiserated: No self awareness.
That night I had dinner with a
Fifteen years ago, my father suddenly fell ill. After a trip to the hospital, the initial diagnosis was bronchitis. But following three days of unrelenting malaise, my father returned to the hospital and was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Two weeks later, he was dead.
My obsession started with Anna Mayfield, one of my labor patients. She had a normal labor, but the baby’s heart rate dropped precipitously in the delivery room.
When the baby was handed off to me, he was dusky, not crying and limp as a piece of cooked spaghetti. I pressed an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth, suctioned mucus from his stomach, rubbed his back, flicked the soles of his feet. He remained unresponsive.
It drives my husband crazy. He is a planner, has great self-discipline, a wide variety of interests and an awe-inspiring CV. He can have four projects and three articles in progress at once, tracking his progress on
But I’m not on call. I want to sleep, but I can’t. The melatonin usually works, but it’s been failing of late. Why is that sodium so low? Did I give the right advice to that dad with his child’s fever? That lady with back pain had cancer ten years ago: when was her last mammogram? His cancer is progressing