This week... this week has just been too heavy. There has been this weight resting on my chest. Like a vice slowly closing in on my lungs. Each breath feeling tighter and tighter. I feel paralyzed by it sometimes. A hollow shell of exhaustion.
This week I helped try to resuscitate a code blue patient for nearly 6 hours. Blood products, intubation, lines.. the works. And then watched as his family stumbled into a room with trash strewn everywhere and every known machine in the unit packed into the room... and blood... so much blood streaming from this mans mouth and nose and all over the sheets... so much that 15 units of blood products didn't save him. His belly taut and distended, full of god knows what. I watched as the resident told them that their loved one was dying... and that we have nothing left to do. I watched as they sobbed and shook their heads in shock and disbelief.
I remember my first death in the ICU... it was peaceful and uneventful compared to the usual in my unit. A simple transition into another world. I went home after that death and I cried and cried and cried. I couldn't grasp that this person who was loved and cherished and had memories and a life... that this person was just now gone and I had somehow witnessed this sacred passage.
And yet this week, I came home and felt tired and alone. Knowing that there are very few people in this world who truly understand what it is like to do what I do. I felt like I had no words for what had just transpired and so instead I said nothing. I shed no tears. I posted a short comment online hoping it would make me feel better and it didn't. Then I turned on the news and continued to be barraged with the horror that has transpired in this awful week.
This week has been horrible and I am tired and I don't want any more news of terror or death or fear and hatred. I want hope. I want joy. I want redemption...
So as I drove into work last night and passed our flag at half mast. I paused for a moment and thought to myself. Today I will do something good. Despite the weight on my chest, and the pit in my stomach... I will still do what I am called to do. Because today... today is a beautiful day to save lives.