Friday, November 22, 2013

Professional Hazards

I was doing a fairly good job of keeping my emotions in check this week. Managing the hormones at work and suppressing the urge to cry over relatively trivial things. Until today. Today I lost it. I lost it several times in fact. Once in the break room trying to make myself a cup of tea in hopes of calming myself. Once on the treadmill in the employee gym that I went for a walk on trying to clear my head. Several times in the confines of my office. And final time when I got home, in my husband's arms.

Today I received a phone call from a mother of a patient informing me that my patient was in the Intensive Care Unit after attempting suicide. They are still running tests to determine the amount of damage that was done to her nervous system and what recovery will look like, but she will survive. I talked with her mother several times throughout the day. I'm not sure if she could hear my voice cracking over the medical machine noises in the background, but it was.

My heart goes out her parents whom I can't even imagine the amount of terror and sadness that they've endured over the past 24 hours. It goes out to her younger siblings who are still trying to process the events that have unfolded. It goes out to her, who can't see past her current despair and was so engulfed in hopelessness that ending her life seemed like the only viable option.

I feel angry towards the other medical providers that I believe dropped the ball. I feel helpless to do anything. I feel a crushing sense of defeat in my past efforts to help her. Most of all, I feel so much sadness for her and her family that my chest feels about to implode.


  1. Wow, how scary. It takes a very strong person to go into your line of work and run the risk of things like this happening with their patients. I admire you being there for people when they're at their lowest and trying to help them. I really hope she pulls through, and that this attempt makes her realize that she wants to live.

  2. Its so hard when you do whatever you can to help someone, but it doesn't matter in the end. I'm sure you did everything you could to the best of your abbilites. Big hugs!