There have been a multitude of reasons that I haven't posted lately. One of them I'll share sometime in the weeks/months to come, the others I've already named one too many times (residency applications/boards/traveling). I've also found that I have less desire lately to post about superficial things. I've found myself less interested in reading my normal daily style blogs and in shopping (a good thing). This doesn't mean that I won't still be sharing the occasional outfit post, just that I'm feeling the urge to write about more if I'm going to keep this little space on the internet alive...so here's what has been on my heart lately.
I have written next to nothing about my experience these last two months in the ER. It's been a good two months, very educational of course and interesting. The same things that attracted me to work in the E.D. as a nurse still hold true: the variety, the occasional excitement, and the ability to comfort people at vulnerable points of their lives. Contrary to many who work in emergency rooms though, I don't love traumas. I saw terrible trauma during my work in Haiti and seeing trauma here reminds me of that. Especially last Saturday.
*Some details changed to preserve patient privacy*
Saturday was one of those completely chaotic days in the ER, starting with a medical code where we lost a patient in her 50s, continuing with a child that had to take a life-flight out to a bigger hospital with neurosurgery after we diagnosed a brain bleed, and culminating with a little boy coming in with a horrific facial wound after a devastating accident. I tried to comfort the boy and his family as much as I could but there wasn't much that I could do after the plastic surgeon started to repair his face. It was awful. His cries brought me back to Haiti and this little boy, who I will never forget.
He was only eight, but he seemed much older than that. He had lost his parents in the earthquake weeks earlier, and in the meantime had suffered weeks with a facial wound sustained in the earthquake that extended into his eye. The physical wounds were devastating, but the emotional wounds from losing his parents ran much deeper. Over the next days that I spent in Haiti, I would go and sit with him in the pediatrics tent after finishing my E.R. shift.
His story ends somewhat happily though: several months after I returned from Haiti I was flipping through a nurse friend from college's Haiti pictures. This friend had volunteered with the U.S.S. Comfort, a naval ship that docked in Haiti with a team of specialists and equipment to care for earthquake victims needing care more than the makeshift volunteer hospitals could provide in Port Au Prince. And one of my friend's pictures was the little boy that I cared for, smiling and happy, after multiple surgeries to reconstruct his injury.
I couldn't sleep after I got home from my shift in the E.D. on Saturday. The child with the injury's face was too much ingrained in my mind, as were the images of multiple other children that I had cared for in Haiti. And as I lay there, I contemplated what to do with my life. I still haven't decided between OB/GYN and emergency medicine. There is no doubt in my mind that OB/GYN is what I'm passionate about but the difficulties of being a mother as an OB/GYN resident are still at the forefront of my decision. I went to medical school initially planning to become an emergency medicine physician, and I can see through working there that I am needed. There are so many patients like that little boy on Saturday who need comfort during the most traumatic moments of their lives. So I'll keep praying...