Thursday, August 06, 2009


...or maybe I should just call it purgatory. The trauma room was a heavy place last night. Heavy in emotions and heavy in conversation. What do you say when you simply don't know what to say? Or in a situation where you are witness to what will be a defining moment in two people's lives?

I watched a couple who had been married for 68 years say goodbye last night. They were in an accident and both pretty badly injured, he was far worse off. The trauma doctors had told them both (and their children) that he would probably not make it out of surgery and if he did, he would never be strong enough to come off the vent. So as he was packaged I put their beds together, rails down as they held hands and said goodbye. How often do we see moments like this and not feel the true depth? Do we use our jaded sense of humor to dull down the situation so much that we can't see things for what they truly are?

I have found that when I allow myself the luxury(!) of letting the emotional side kick in that my head begins to swim in a way that almost seems out of control. I begin to question all the things that I know so well.... like how I feel when a patient is sick as shit (calm and joking on the outside with the best of Buffett in my head)... how the trauma room looks (smells!) when all the patients have left and the lights are off... why I still care what certain people think and why a peer's opinion can matter so much.

Have I become a big fish in a little pond? I can do everything in the ER (charge, triage, trauma, orient). The nurses and coordinators come to me as a resource. Am I banging my head on the ceiling, but am too ignorant to allow opportunity to knock? A very wise and sweet person pointed this fact out to me (maybe a bit more tactfully than I have here). I am starting to think that finding what really makes you happy is frequently viewed as a selfish act. Why is it not a priority, instead of an afterthought?

So before I make myself crazy I am going to soak in the tub with a glass of chocolate wine and allow the more pleasant parts of my night drift through the crazy currents of my mind.


Blogger battynurse said...

How incredibly sad for that couple.
I hope you find answers or a decision for what you're looking for. You are right, pursuing happiness shouldn't be an afterthough.

12:01 AM  
Blogger mojitogirl said...

I think you need some down time. Total disconnect for awhile. Like anyone who lives on constant adrenaline, you're burning out your battery to zero charge. It might not be a matter of a jumpstart anymore, but a whole new battery.

Life is too short to do something you no longer enjoy, that drags you down, no matter HOW WELL you do it. The stress level alone is a killer. How about an ER with less acuity? Or another area altogether? Your skills never really go away. Your knowledge base is there. You're just not killing yourself!

Peace out!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the small moments that are actually writ large on our consciousness. The great thing about a good marriage is the support that it gives to both partners. Although it was sad to see the goodbye, how lucky that you knew it was possible, and saw the love shine through. There is a grace in that. Embrace that, not the horror and maybe you will be more comfortable.

I love reading your blog. It gives me a sense of comfort. I am not in the medical field, rather the other end of things, but because of some serious lung issues, that just don't seem very controllable, I end up as a patient once in a while. Hospitals scare the crap out of me because of it. I think reading your blog makes me feel better about the possibilities although I am nowhere near you.

Remember your own blessings and maybe it will put things in perspective.

11:14 PM  

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