Then theres the obligatory "check the weather" walk outside that turns into the all out staff snowball fight with a couple of city EMS providers thrown in for good measure. Something about the attending chasing the patient care tech and a medic shoving snow down my shirt that brings back all those good memories from childhood. I did manage to get said medic back with a snowball to the face. As I was trying to escape back into the ER my shoe covers kicked in and I went (gracefully) KER-THUMP onto the floor. My butt still hurts! Thank GOD I had the space heater to dry out my clothes!
Unfortunately, in any situation the unfettered joy is always tempered by a heavy dose of reality. We were pulled aside that same night to speak with our coordinator about another staff member. Young nurse, well liked with a history of diabetes was a no-call, no-show and work Thursday. She was found dead in her apartment Friday morning. She worked days, so I didn't know her super well, however we always got along, worked well together and she made people laugh. She was one of those slightly funky but sweet people who could wear purple sparkle mascara and look completely adorable. She had a dog that was the light of her life and her current Facebook picture is of the dog dressed as a Christmas elf.
Something about medicine in general reminds us that things always want to be balanced. Ins vs outs. BMP, CBC, ABG..... we want balance. Ironically, life seems to do the same for us as well. An amazing snow night balanced out by profound sadness. I hope that all those she met and cared for realized how special of a nurse they had.
Our ER family may not consist of Mom+Dad and kids, we may try to kill each other from time to time but this is so much more than just a job.