Do you know what it’s like to have a literal life in the palm of your hands? Knowing that a single mistake you do can cause that single life to suddenly become a deceased life? Seeing a once warm, happy person turn into a cold, lifeless corpse is something you can never get used to.

I’ve been in that kind of industry for two decades. Imagine telling a patient that there’s a chance they won’t make it out on the other side, and the final words you hear from them are, “I trust you, doc.” It’s… a heavy hitter.

I need to unwind after work, get drunk or something.

You didn’t even savor the flavor, did you?”

Nope. Straight down the hatch.”

What the hell was that all about?” he asked.

“The usual, Roberto. Nothing fancy today. I don’t deserve to celebrate.”

“Everything okay, Diane?” Robert asked as he turned around to the liquor shelf.

I let out a sigh as I ran my fingers through my hair, taking out the purple scrunchie that held my hair back. No matter how many times it has happened in my career, even though there was nothing I could do, it’s never an easy thing to admit.

“I lost another patient on the table.”

I couldn’t help but hang my head in shame. Every day, I have somebody’s literal life in the palm of my hands, them expecting me to fix or repair whatever it is. Most days it’s a simple bone fracture or a couple stitches on a wound. Hell, even taking something out of a person is a walk in the park compared to some of the most severe operations I’ve had to do. But when you inform a patient that an operation is too risky, and they still want to go through with it, you can’t help but to keep that faint voice in the back of your head repeat itself.

Please survive, for the love of God. Don’t die on me.

I let the sound of shaking ice bring me back to reality, helping me not dwell on my shift. Curious as to why it was being shaken so vigorously, I looked up and saw Robert violently shaking two metal cups.

I chuckled, “That’s a lot of effort for a simple glass of tequila, Roberto. I don’t even need it chilled.”

He knocked on the cups, loosening one and taking it away as he poured the contents into a glass, “It’s the top shelf stuff, tonight. The stuff that needs to be chilled before serving.”

Before I got a chance to refuse the drink, Robert placed a small coaster in front of me and the glass of tequila on top. I stared down at it, looking that the few pieces of ice float along inside. I looked back up and saw Robert leaning on the bar counter, pointing to it.

“It’s on me.”

I guess there was no talking him out of it. In one swift motion, I grabbed the glass and chugged it down, ignoring the aroma or its taste. The only thing I got from that small glass was the smooth, tingling sensation as the tequila went down. Considering how smooth it was, the chill from the ice actually gave me a minor brain freeze, but it was manageable. I put the glass back down and looked at Robert.

“You didn’t even savor the flavor, did you?”

“Nope. Straight down the hatch.”

Robert laughed and shook his head, “I should have given you the house stuff then. You want your beer now or later?

“Now,” I said, stretching and running my fingers through my hair again.

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