Confused but thankful
I was awake most of the night playing loops in my head…all the people I’ve known in life and how we affected each other…how we interacted. I came to the conclusion that even though some of these people were more or less ‘lured’ into my life by showing affection and kindness, the feelings were genuine all along. I think I want to be everyone’s best friend…everyone’s everything. I’ve always been striving for that although I know well enough that it’s an impossible, self-defeating goal. Strange huh?
I’m trying to find someone in my heart who I miss so I can feel a bit more normal today. Feeling that space between me and other humans has been wearing on me some…making me feel more distant from myself. I was looking at my reflection in the mirror this morning and didn’t quite recognize who was looking back at me. Maybe I’ve always had issues loving myself because I see myself as another person who I can fail. (Wow, my therapist would be proud of me; she used to tell me all the time that I emotionally abandoned myself constantly).
I trust myself now, however….it’s a huge change for me. I used to constantly doubt my choices, my actions, my thoughts…I wasn’t quite sure what I was entitled to feel/not feel or do/not do. I scrambled to read people and discover their needs, scrambled to fill them and when I did, it was often with so much passion it blew them away and the started to feel entitled to that level of attention. My fault? Yep, but it was never once malicious or self-serving. I genuinely wanted to help every single time. Wanting to help and wanting to be a life support system are two very different things in my head though, and many people seemed to confuse the two. Again, my fault for not being more clear. Hmmm…not entirely correct there. I was very to the point with quite a few people in my life and stated, clearly, what my intentions were. It never really made a difference in the end though. I was eventually not able to sustain the support and then they would leave my life angry, disappointed and sullen.
Wow do I ever hate that cycle now.
M writes me and tells me he doesn’t want to be treated like one of the broken people I ‘collect’. I wanted to tell him that I don’t do that anymore…I don’t seek out attention or friendship online. I don’t try to meet new people and I’m to the point that I’m withdrawing from everyone rather than looking for more. Working in a medical ward helps a lot as I get to scatter empathy and assistance around constantly…my new job will be the same. Maybe I’ve found a substitute? I’m crazy exhausted by day end so I must be discharging emotional build up somewhere.
The other day we had a code blue (adult cardiac arrest) right across the hall from my office. The lights outside the room light up blue and flash when a patient’s heart stops which always vaguely reminds me of a ‘blue light special’ at K-Mart from when I was a kid. The code is called into switchboard and then announced three times over the intercom and everyone near to the area that is announced starts to run to the location. It’s quite amazing to see. Our nurses, the nurses from the other side of the floor, techs, doctors, residents, students, fellows, clerical staff, physiotherapists and clerks all running for the room across the hall. The first responder jumps on the patient and begins compressions that look hard enough to break ribs and the second starts bagging the patient to keep them breathing. Someone grabbed the crash cart and somehow got it into the room which was spilling over with people at that point. It was then I noticed an odd couple of people in the mix; two women who didn’t look like they belonged in the middle of that throng. I wove my way through the medical staff and held a hand out to the younger woman and then lead her out while the older woman followed.
“Are you family?” I asked.
They both nodded without taking their eyes off the controlled chaos that was surrounding their family member.
I went to the physio room and brought out two chairs which they automatically sat in as I placed them against the wall.
“Can I get you some water? Is there anything you need?”
The older woman gazed at me without seeing me at all. “No. I think we’re fine. Do those people know that my mom signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) when she was admitted here?”
I suspect the colour drained from my face a bit as I glanced back at the life saving efforts going on passionately inside the room. I was glad to hear someone call out:
“Wait! Stop! She’s DNR!”
Everyone froze in their tracks. The nurse sitting atop the patient stopped mid-compression and the student working the bag stopped forcing air into the patient’s lungs. Everyone pulled back and I could hear the whine of the crash cart paddles winding down before they had even been used. People dispersed quickly then, after pulling the white bed sheet over the lost patient’s head….no one really said anything to the family. (They would do, in fact, the social work team was already on their way over but, in the moment, they all seemed so saddened by the loss they weren’t thinking clearly).
I ended up sitting with the family until social work arrived and we chatted about the weather, of all things. I could tell the shock of everything hadn’t even begun to wear through the surprise of losing their loved one so quickly. I mean, one second she’s sleeping and the two family members were making plans for their next visit and the next, after 50 some people responded to save her life, she was left dead because of the DNR order. It was so surreal.
I didn’t really do anything to help but those few moments after their loss were so fragile I was glad to be the person who was there to watch over them.
So, in this way I can be who I am and care as much as I do without any threat of disappointment nipping at the edges of my actions. There’s no fear in me that I will fail at this because it comes as naturally to me as breathing. It’s a way I can care about people, make some sort of positive difference in their lives, and feel proud of what I did. It’s a good thing for me…being here. This is why I got into health care in the first place, after all.
Hope you guys have a great day. 🙂 xxG