Aug 28, 2011

And the world spins madly on

It’s such a strange thing, death. One minute there is life and the next, there just isn’t, one last breath and then nothing, no heartbeat, no contact – just a big empty space where there once was life. A patient’s wife said the other day “it was so easy, just a heavy sigh, and then he was gone”. I guess it is easy, not living, stopping, giving in. I just can’t really wrap my head around it.

I deal with death or near-death practically everyday at work, it becomes natural somehow. I knew going in to this profession that the one thing people would warn me about was the one thing I didn’t have to worry about – taking my patients problem home with me. The one thing that is a disaster in my personal life is one of my biggest strength at work. I’m empathic, I care and I want the best for people around me – but I’m almost the opposite with myself. It sounds horrible, but I don’t really accept feelings in myself. Does that sound strange? I don’t mind taking the difficult talks with patients, I don’t mind comforting and giving support – actually I think I’m pretty good at it, but when it comes to myself I prefer to push the feelings and hard talks away, I yell and judge instead of giving comfort and support. So the big problem people predicted I would have with being sad and “feeling my patients feelings” too much has never been an issue.

I saw that wife and her daughter in the eye, I comforted as best I could and then I walked out and continued with the paperwork around the death of someone’s husband, father and uncle, just as if something huge and life-altering hadn't just happened. I’m not sure that doesn’t make me a monster.

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