Thursday, September 25, 2008

is it too late to change careers?


Today was one of the most confusing, frustrating, infuriating and heartbreaking days I've ever spent in the ER. Surely, it didn't help that I'm still a little wobbly on my feet, but in the end that didn't make any real difference. This day would have been a cluster no matter what. There's simply no explaining it, no easy way to express the depths of my emotions as the day wore on.


When I was doing my nursing school clinicals at the Big Bad Psych Hospital, there was a woman there who absolutely broke my heart. She was a paranoid schizophrenic who was off her meds because her husband thought pysch meds would make them look bad to their friends and family, and she was having both auditory and visual hallucinations. Her major focal point was her kids - she was terrified for their safety. She was completely convinced that if they left the house, they would be killed by the demons that lived in her yard. I don't remember their exact ages, but her kids were small, and it had been an ongoing struggle to keep them in the house. One day, her toddler snuck out the back door and made a dash for the great outdoors. Panic stricken, thinking only of her beloved child's safety, she raced after him and "killed the demon that was on top of him". You can figure out the rest. When she realized what she had done, there was no more reaching her. She was gone.


The fact that I've gone back years in my memory to pull out that specific story speaks volumes about my day.

13 comments:

Rudee said...

What an incredibly sad story. I don't think I want to know what happened today. Especially if it involves a child. The beauty of being a nurse is the fact that you can reinvent your career as often as you like. I have a feeling you've found your niche though and today will soon be just a memory. If it's as bad as you intimate, be sure you debrief because obviously, if you recalled this one so quickly, it's close to the surface and troubles you.

my two cents said...

Sorry, really sorry.

Maggie May said...

I don't know how you do it RC. I really don't.

Jo Beaufoix said...

That's so sad. I hope you're ok.

Kate said...

That is such a sad story, that poor woman. I can understand why you might think of a career change, but the fact that can understand that woman and not see her as a monster as so many others would suggests you are in the right job. It must be incredibly hard though.

Kaycie said...

I'm thinking about you, sweetie.

Frances said...

big hug. Thanks for doing it - for being there for people who need you.

aims said...

Oh RC.

That poor woman. My heart hurts reading this. Especially after 9 months of being with people like this and seeing how they struggle with reality.

Why does life have to be so hard?

hugs

Akelamalu said...

You know it's learning things like that make one's own problems pale into significance. :(

Swearing Mother said...

I know where you're coming from RC, after years working in paediatrics there are still horrible thoughts which pop into my mind unbidden at times, things which are hard to forget and continue to haunt me.

I think that's where our slightly warped sense of humour emerges from, trying to see the funny side of most situations in order to survive them. But sadly, some situations are so terrible that there is no way to mitigate the them, we just have to wait for the moment to pass.

You do a tough job, in a tough world, and that in turn has made you the strong woman that you are. Hope tomorrow is a less sad day for you.

the planet of janet said...

wow. just wow.

Devon said...

You know what RC, it isn't too late. I tend to think of it as the progression of the career. I used to work SICU in a large hospital in a large city. I thought I was good at it and should stay there until I had a car accident driving home from a 14 hour shift.

Due to a broken hand I had time at home to think about it and made dramatic career changes. I'm not saying that this is for you, but do not rule out the possibility of options in your life.

You would be giving and talented where ever you go, but where would you be at peace?

CrazyCath said...

Been there. The saddest days of my life. Thinking of you.