Friday, October 31, 2008

30 in 30

Inspired by MoMP, I have joined NaBloPoMo and taken on the challenge of writing a blog post a day for the month of November.

Stay tuned for more than you ever wanted to know about the inner-workings of my brain.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Matters of Life and Death

After 3.5 weeks of relative quiet at work, the end of last week brought some pretty intense situations. I sat in on my first family meeting at which the medical team told the family there was nothing left that could be done. I watched another family struggle to come to grips with the fact that their child was not going to live. And I witnessed intense grief of a family going through an unthinkable tragedy outside of their hospital stay.

All in one day.

It was the kind of day in which I kept feeling heavier and heavier with the weight of these families' stories, and that ended with me sobbing in my office at the end of the day. This is my dream job - helping people through impossibly difficult times and helping them navigate the delicate balancing act between heartache and hope. It is everything I want to be doing, but sometimes, like last week, it becomes difficult for me to separate a family's grief from my own.

And yet, I returned.

I spent the weekend practicing some self care, hanging out with friends and babysitting, and then returned to work on Monday. Yes, I was a little bit scared of what would be waiting for me, but I was also determined to find new families to remind me of the hope and resillience that can be found on my unit that can help to balance out the tragedy.

So "balance" was the key word of the week, I guess. This week, I supported another family through the death of a patient. I also made dedicated time to support the staff, who are impacted by these losses (both individually and cumulatively). And in the middle of all the grief that surrounded me, I found hope. Hope in some of the new familes who have arrived on the unit. And hope in the patient who moved to a non-ICU floor and who is now one step closer of returning home with her family.

Every night, I am exhausted when I get home. Every morning I'm nervous about what the day may bring and my capacity to handle it. But multiple times a day, without fail, I am honored and humbled to work in such an incredible place.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's the Little Things

When one works in a hospital, there are many alerts and codes to learn. There are alerts for spills and security and other such emergencies. There's "Code Red" which indicates a fire, or "Code Pink" which indicates a potential patient/child abduction, or "Code Brown" which may or may not be an official code, but the nursing staff can tell you you most definitely don't want to have to deal with one.

I was browsing through the internal hospital website today and came across a page describing this alert:

Linen Service / Lost "Lovey"
To alert the individuals who can activate a well organized search for a patient's item of significant emotional attachment ("lovey"), which is believed to have been mistakenly removed with the soiled linen.

I love where I work.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good Stuff

I was talking with someone recently about how the couple I hope to be most like in my own life partnership is Cliff and Claire Huxtable. There just seems to be such a good combination of love and laughter and respect between them.

Tonight I turned the TV on and saw the clip where Cliff and Claire are making up after an argument. He turns on some jazz, they sit on the couch together, and then he cuts up an apple and feeds it to her. Doesn't sound like much, but it made me smile. Looked for it on YouTube but couldn't find it. 

In other news, I think I'm getting sick, so please send me some healthy vibes because I can't take care of families of tiny little people who are sick if I'm going to make them all sick.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Without Words

Tomorrow marks the start of my third week at my new job. I haven't managed to write about it yet not because I don't have any thoughts to share, but because every time I sit down to write I find myself at a loss for words. When I am able to come up with words, they aren't able to capture the experiences I've had. But it's now been over two weeks since I've posted, so I've got to fight my lack of words somehow.

For now, as long as I'm at a loss for words that turn into paragraphs, I'm going to share little bits and pieces from my work life. I will warn you ahead of time that some might be upsetting. I don't plan to share any graphic stories, but I know that the line of work I'm in is one that many don't like to think about. Ultimately, this blog is for sharing bits and pieces of my life and this work is a significant part of my life. Read if you like, skip it if you prefer.

Things I Learned in My First 2 Weeks on the Job:

- I'm out of practice introducing myself and my role as a social worker in a hospital setting.

- I am surprisingly unphased by the insanely high number and types of beeps that surround me on a daily basis.

- I have to wear a belt at all times so that the combination of pager+hip phone won't pull my pants down.

- I am surrounded by incredibly talented and compassionate people

- A baby born 3 months early is unbelievably tiny and fragile.

- The most beautiful eyes on the unit belong to the baby who supposedly can't see.

- Walking to work is a really nice way to start the morning.

- Walking home from work is a good way to transition from work back to home.