Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Amnesia in a bottle

I was on call this weekend. It's left me exhasted to say simply. I spent all day today almost on the phone with conference calls and I am tired of thinking about death. Yes people are living because of that death, but I never see them, its a one way mirror for me and thats hard. A co-worker just called me, she's frustrated with management and physically and mentally exhasted. I listened the best I could, being sympathetic but trying to stay objective. Sometimes I see her side, sometimes I see their side. Right now, I dont want to see either side... I dont want to think about work, the politics, the donors or the recipients. At least not right now, maybe tomorrow. I've already taken my allotted dose of advil today, thrown in a couple mutivitamins, some macrobid with some tums on top of that...

Monday night after going for a hard run to try to get the picture of my donor's young wife crying at his bedside, her 2 year old child, out of my head, I drank too much, so much for the calories burned (but well worth it). Sometimes I need to just wash it away with alcohol, or attempt to anyways. No... I am not an alcoholic, I find outlets in plenty other healthy places as stated above. But, as I was explaining to the nurse in the ICU as we were both crying with the wife, "this is a 2 drink case", and I meant it. Sometimes I just have to indulge for the sake of amnesia.

Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I am sitting here with my feet propped up, a warm fuzzy blanket spread on top of my legs and my laptop sitting on top of that. I have the fire place going strong and its getting increasingly harder to stay awake for an afternoon conference call that I am required to be on. I was awake until midnight last night, not in bed until 1ish due to the necessity of food which I had been without the prior 12 hours. My husband, bless him, made me a turkey burger, which I enhaled the minute I sat down after getting home last night. I sat eating and watching the "pursuit of happiness", never hating and loving a movie so much. But it became emotionally too much to watch after the day I had had, so after kissing my boys and standing at their bedside for a few minutes staring at them, I finally I collapsed into my warm bed, my feet and heart aching.

Yesterday afternoon, I watched a mother say goodbye to her son. I watched a sister say goodbye to her brother. I watched a father say goodbye to his closest friend. And a girlfriend say her goodbyes also. Sadly, I have watched a thousand goodbyes over the past years, but for some reason, the wall was hard to throw up yesterday. Maybe it was because I was tired, or hadn't done a case in awhile. Maybe it was because I have boys and it hit me closer than most cases. Or maybe it's God's way of saying "Hey, your still human after all!". I cried in the room with the family, and for their loss. I cried because the thought of possibly being that mother someday, was more that I could handle. Surviving your kids must be horrible and something I never want to experience. I dont think she or he intended it to be that way, so why did God? It's a question I often wonder about.

That morning, I was up at 5, stopped at Starbucks on the corner and tried not the bite the head off the counter girl when they didnt have the coffee I wanted. (Pre-coffee mood sux). I drove to a local trauma center and started my day, contemplating the calories burned by standing on your feet for 24 hours... :) My donor was 27, and a good looking guy. Can't really spill the details, but he wasn't supposed to be there, and it was a sudden, possibly unexpected loss for this family. I was told he was an athelete, and his lungs and heart proved that. They were both very strong and some of the highest PO2s on ABGs I have seen in a long time. They saved the life of another young man in his 20s and imagining that families excitement and relief, was what kept me going strong and even prompted me to tell the OR circulating nurse: "I have the best job in the world" as I pulled my warm blanket around me in the freezing OR, my stomach rumbling, my feet and knees cramping, my face breaking out because I haven't washed it in 20 hrs. Yep the best job, wouldn't trade it for the world. I love the docs I work with, my co workers and the families I help. I love the proudness that echos in my kids voices when they tell people what their mom does. I honestly dont think I could do anything else, I try to think about it and fail. I am destined to do this for the rest of my life, but you know what? That suits me just fine.