Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can I make a Comeback?

Tomorrow I make my return to working "on the road" after deciding I needed a break. Honestly I'm not so sure I have this in me anymore. I've been working in the medical field for nearly 10 years, even longer if you consider what I've done for Dad. I made the decision to step away after having a few emotional incidents following his death.

Soon after Dad's death I made the decision to switch to days. By doing so I'd be less likely to get real emergent calls and deal mostly with hospital transfers and other crappy not so difficult tasks that wouldn't require my absolute best. The truth is I wasn't sure if I had the strength for the job any longer. The strength to separate my emotions from my work. The strength to laugh at the drunks, stabilize a tension pneumothorax or offer a grieving family hope. By going back to days though It seemed as though I were dealing with a larger number of people suffering from the same ailments as Dad. I saw his pain in everyone I dealt with. I just couldn't do this yet, I wasn't ready and made the decision to sit on the sidelines for a bit longer. I needed an emotional vacation.

I revisited the site of my first cardiac arrest the other day. I can recall every single action my partner and I took to revive grandma seconds after seeing her new granddaughter. The house was full of family members celebrating her return home. While in the hospital battling cancer her daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. After arriving home she decided to lay down for a nap, not much longer a family member discovered she wasn't breathing. Luckily my partner and I were close enough to offer her a good chance of survival. I did everything I could, but despite years of training and education nothing was working.

With each round of chest compressions and being unable to get a shock-able rhythm, I knew she wouldn't make it. Still I wouldn't give up hope. See somehow I knew that eventually I would be the family member watching on in fear as people work on saving my Dad. In a way I'm kinda glad I wasn't there to witness his final moments, but my doubt in the care and effort given into saving him has left me in this awkward position.

Can I get over this? Can I be absolutely certain that I'll be able to overcome this and provide the best care for my patients, or is it time for a career change?

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