‘Till Death Do Us Part

There’s something about working in Intensive Care that you must face early on while working there: death and dying. It’s a hard subject–it is scary–why else would the “Grim Reaper” look so freaky?– but it’s a part of the natural life cycle. Although, I feel the life cycle should encompass birth, living a somewhat long life, and then dying, it does not always happen that way.

A tricky thing with working in the ICU, is you have patients who you’ll see for months. I saw it while working in the pediatrics ICU, and the same goes for normal med/surg intensive care units: the staff develop relationships with, more so, the families of the patients. You see the family members in the morning, and at night. They call during the day. For months, the nurse will see patients moved from different rooms on the unit, saying while getting report, “Oh, I took care of him/her while she was in Room X.”

And then, the patient expires.

The staff expected it long ago. If modern medicine was not here, even forty years ago, the patient would have passed away months ago. Even though you were expecting it, and waiting for it to happen, you feel a loss. And as staff members, if you cannot build an emotional barrier between yourself and the families you take care of, you simply cannot exist. And the barrier can crumble easily.

My barrier seemed to crumble today.  I’ll build it back up tomorrow.

When was the last crazy post written?

September 2010

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