Sunday, April 11, 2010

Life goes on, one way or another.

The semester is almost over, and I am immensely grateful for that. The last few months have been incredibly hard and I will be glad for a rest.

I found my clinical shifts to be the hardest part. Week after week, I was placed in situations that reminded me of the weeks I spent with Dad in the hospital, watching him fade. I almost left my ICU shift shortly after I walked in, I simply wasn't prepared for the onslaught of emotions that washed over me. I was close to tears, and it was sheer stubbornness that carried me through. After every shift I would spend the evening in tears, then fall into a restless, nightmare filled sleep. Getting up in the morning was nearly impossible.

The week after I returned to class, we began a lecture on multi system organ failure. For the next 4 hours, I sat in turbulent silence as my professor described, in minute, physiological detail, how and why Dad eventually died. Although a few tears escaped, I would not leave the classroom. I was too stubborn to admit that it was affecting me so badly, and too proud to ask for any allowances. I regret that now. I should have let myself go home to grieve in peace.

The semester will be over soon, I will have passed everything. My background in life sciences and as a first responder has allowed me to move through the term on autopilot, which I am eternally thankful for. Next year, I will be back to my normal self, and will not only pass everything, but once more, excel in everything. Dad would have been proud.

Monday, February 22, 2010

It is so hard.

It is hard to watch a patient struggle for breath, fighting the life-giving mask strapped to their mouth.

It is hard to watch vital signs change, knowing what they mean although those around you continue on in blissful ignorance.

It is hard to catch the looks passed between doctors and nurses, the knowing, sympathetic, hopeless looks that pierce to the soul.

It is hard to see a patient struggle to form words as a tumour slowly compresses nerves, making speech a veritable impossibility.

It is hard to watch a strong man fade, to know that the still joking man before you is facing near impossible odds.

It is hard to convince a patient to eat and drink since the majority of nutrients will be sucked away by the terrible invading force occupying his increasingly frail body.

It is hard to spend hour after hour, day after day, watching him fade further and seeing the faint glimmer of hope grow more distant.

It is hard to get the hospital smell washed off your clothes, your body and your hair, a constant, grim reminder of where you spend your long, dark days.

It is hard to tell a 12 year old that her father is dying, hard to hear her ask if that means she will have to walk down the aisle alone.

It is hard to tell family members that there is very little hope, and to call them in from all areas of the country to say their final farewells.

It is even harder when it is your family.

It is even harder when it is your father.