Friday, October 18, 2013

I Am Worried About Trenton Merrick

One of the two principal characters in the romantic thriller, Frontline, Trenton remains a mystery even to me, the book’s author. I created him to be a quiet, enigmatic, brooding man on the surface. It’s those traits that first intrigue Sara Peters, the book’s other principal character, and inspire her initial curiosity towards him.

As the story progresses and different situations expose different sides of his personality to us (“us” includes me—remember, I’m on this journey with all of you!), whether the situation is romantic, sexual, suspenseful, or even death defying, Trenton remains stoic in the face of it all. He even refuses painkillers when injured.

I am a registered nurse by profession. I see how people respond to news of their progress: joy when the news is good, determination when things are on the fence and more tests are required. I’m lucky enough to see patients who have no hope on arrival at my hospital rally to make a full recovery. They carry a new perspective on life out the door with them when they leave. That experience is worrisome, but in the end, it’s joyful.

I’m also unlucky enough to see hope vanish in a patient’s eyes when the news isn’t good, when further tests or treatments ask not only too much of their bodies but too much of their hearts and minds. They leave with a different kind of perspective, if they get out of my hospital at all. Some of them don’t. But that experience is only worrisome for the patient at first. In the days that follow, as family members filter through to say their goodbyes, I’ve seen their worries and fears wash away beneath the first trickle of relief, by the hope that they’re going some place even better than this one. The human spirit thrives in these moments and the experience is life affirming.

When Trenton appeared in the opening chapter of Frontline, he immediately reminded me of a patient I helped treat who was admitted with a wound similar to his. This patient wouldn’t tell me anything about how it transpired. None of the members of my team, from rookies to senior staff with decades of experience, felt that he was telling us the truth.