Saturday, October 22, 2011


We’ve had some really sick people the last few weeks.

The ebb and flow of an ICU is a funny thing. Weeks vary so differently and yet they don’t. Sometimes a patient’s fate seems so grim and they pull through, other times they don’t seem that sick and then they die. The truth is you just never know what the outcome will be.

Sometimes working in healthcare is an incredibly satisfying field. I so deeply appreicate those days, those patients. And then sometimes it’s not. Those days are hard.

I’ve wondered a lot about my role lately, the vitality of it. Wondering if what I do really matters. There is an attending doctor above me and a nurse below me. The doctor ultimately rules and the nurse fulfills the rule. I’m in the middle of all that. I’m what’s known as a “midlevel” provider. I wonder sometimes what that really means.

I enjoy doing procedures; putting in central lines and arterial lines and intubating and even a spinal tap most recently. I appreciate the power of physically manipulating the body and seeing a definitive result; especially when it’s a positive one.

I wonder what my future holds. I wonder what plans God has for me. Where I’ll go, what I”ll do, where I’ll be.

I hate working nights. I hate the life it steals from me. I hate the way extreme exhaustion makes me feel. I hate sleeping during the day when the rest of the world is awake and alive and living. I hate the landscape company employed by my apartment complex.

I love off days when Ruthie and I can go to the park. I love to watch her. She runs so fast and loves it when the big dogs chase her. She likes to play this funny game. It makes me smile. She brings such joy to me.

It’s funny, the things that affect us, the things that mold and shape our daily lives and work in forming who we are. It’s funny how we change from year to year. I am not the same person I was a few years ago and yet I am.

Sometimes life forces us to acknowledge things we couldn’t see before, wouldn’t see before. Sometimes we find ourselves wide awake.

I had the death talk with 3 families this week, all on the same day. The next day all 3 patients died. I took Ruthie to the park. I love to watch her play.


incapearl said...

You wonder if what you do bring the message of endings to the same time, if they want to hear, you have the message of Hope to give. It is only partly what you DO that matters...mostly, it's who you are.

As humans we get wrapped up in the doing and forget that it's the being that is so very experience that at the park w/Ruthie.

Stephanie said...

What I see here is an excellent example of self care. I just attended a workshop on it and I realize I am terrible at it. In many ways! But you are exercising your right to watch Ruthie play and that is awesome. It is one way God cares for you. It is JUST one way that God cares for you.

Thank you for your "thoughts" today. I think I needed that!

holly wynne said...

I read your words and (because I see everything through my pseudo-literary filter) always think, "Tara missed her calling--she really should be a writer."

Always, though, immediately following that thought is the self-rebuking--"Tara missed no calling--she's following a calling that she has a gift for that not many people do."

To do what you do, to bear what you bear, and then to be able to articulate it so movingly...well, it's just a double gift. As always, you inspire me.