Sunday, August 23, 2009

Every now and then you have to light a candle

You work codes and unfold sheets. You put your arm around onlookers and family members and guide them away. You listen to them in the hallways of the ER. Wiping their eyes roughly with the heel of a grimy hand, going over and over the last thing they said, yesterday morning when they fussed at him for getting into the sugar.

Whether we want to admit it or not every death takes its little dig out of us. Every shattered helmet and flat green line and 'unknown downtime' puts a little dent in the armor, every LODD takes the whole works up and shakes it with a rough, unmerciful hand. So every now and then I just have to sit down and cry for no one and everyone, for the things that could have been prevented and the things that could not be helped. I have to gently place them all in a little paper boat and set it adrift; leave that red pillar shining in the quiet of the church for all the broken hearts and empty places at the table.

This song helps.


Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

OK. I never commented on this? Because I should have. I absolutely love this post. It had me bawling when I read it...however long ago it was. I came here to double check your address because I forwarded it to someone.

(It was a woman who delivered her baby on her stairs at home and her husband said the female EMTs handled it much better than the male ones, but I told him that it's possible my female EMT sister-in-law might have been a bit freaked out by it all actually. :-)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I dunno, I used to dread the 'OB Emergency' but after a call like the guy I dealt with Saturday I think I could deal with birthin' some babies. Its better than the alternative.

Erin said...

This is really beautiful. I cannot imagine how profoundly affected you are by what you see.

By the way, Lisa sent me here. I'm the one who gave birth on the stairs, and I swear the two EMTs who came that night were Heavent sent!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Congratulations, Erin! I'm glad it all went well. You know, we get a pin that goes on the dress uniforms for delivering a baby; a little stork with either a pink or blue bundle in its beak. Most of us both fear and covet the stork.

Candice said...

Great post.

I'm an ER nurse and I know exactly what you are talking about.

Sometimes a good cry is what you need. It's like letting the sad out.