I was explaining to my best, most supportive friend at work about the recent series I’ve been doing on Dispatches From the Evening shift. She began nodding when I said it was basically about those patients who don’t leave us, who we carry. She placed her hand over mine and said, “I understand.”
And in her saying that I knew that she understood about my patients. I also knew that she had patients of her own that she carried. My friend, the most compassionate nurse I know, the nurse who when one of our techs got devastating news about a newborn in her family was the one that I asked to speak to the tech. The nurse who had been caring for her in-laws for years, through health and sickness, even in death while making sure the family, who are not medical, understood what was happening with them. She’s the one who I look to to make sure what is coming out of my mouth isn’t too harsh.
Because I can be harsh, and crude, and expect people to be better than they are.
She and I have different ways of handling things and people.
But she makes me understand that I am not alone in what I feel about past patients.
I am not alone.
She is not alone.
We are not alone.