Occasionally the normal, sane part of my brain catches up to me at work and I find myself wondering, "What the heck am I doing?!!" So many of the things I see on a regular basis are once-in-a-lifetime things for my patients, and yet they are my everyday reality. An ankle so badly broken that it is hanging backwards by shreds of skin, a teenage girl so drunk that I have to hold up her head to catch her vomit, an intoxicated homeless man shouting obscenities at me as I step forward to catch him before he faceplants into the sidewalk. I hear the anguished cries of a family who have lost a loved one, the grief of an elderly man saying goodbye to his wife of 50 years as we rush her out the door in a vain hope to save her life. A woman punched and choked yet still "in love", a child fighting for breath in the middle of the night, an infant murdered by his own father.
I wonder what effect this is having on my psyche. It is the job that I have chosen, the calling that has been chosen for me. I would not trade it for any other, but I do not want to lose my humanity and sanity to the trauma of this world.