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that’s a fine looking high horse

October 22, 2014

Changing jobs can be a strange experience when you stretch yourself and try something different. We all have a comfort zone and when you step outside it the anxiety it produces can be intense. Recently I switched from a floor position to one in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit-SICU. The health profession loves our acroynms you know. HTN, CHF, FOG, FOS, WOB, SOB, CVVHD, CRRT, blahblahblah.

The gear shift required for this position is one that is hard for me working for so long with people, whom for the most part, are getting better and on their way home or to rehab. Now, my patients might die, actively trying to die while their families watch them helpless to persuade their bodies to keep going, hang on a little longer-have an opportunity to turn it all around and get well.

I hugged my first family member last week and I felt so funny about it. I have hugged people goodbye and hello before in my old position but not in this capacity. Who knows if someone wants a stranger to hug them? Does it help? Does it make it any better? It makes me realize how limiting our care can be for someone who is just really really sick to begin with and then have no reserves to overcome a more critical event like emergency surgery or trauma.

I watch patients sit in their beds with no visitors, with visitors who harm more then help, watch families struggle with the fact that they may hate that family member because of all the shitty things they did or wonderful things they did not do in their lifetime realizing that they can get any time back. This might be the end and the end is only regret and guilt.

Last friday was my mom’s birthday and she would have been 68 years old. My kids are 10 and 13 and have never known her. I am not known as a mama to my mama. I am without that parent to call and exuberantly brag or complain. So much regret.

I appreciated all the  nurses who cared for my mom. The amazing doctors who did everything they could. I am sorry my mom was so pissed she was dying and I hope, where ever she may be she knows that it doesn’t matter now. All of the things that went before because despite every single thing-I know she loved me.

Isn’t that the only thing we can hope for in life-that someone loves us enough to miss us when we are gone?

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