I'm going on vacation this weekend. Taking 5 days and heading south to New Orleans where I've never been to meet up with good friends from college and their friends. I'm using a free flight that had to be used before February 2nd, and staying at someone's house, so I'm hoping the budget part of the trip is relatively manageable.
I remember thinking when I booked the trip, "I will have just taken time off from work for Christmas - it seems kind of silly to take more time so soon."
As it turns out, this trip could not be planned for a better time.
Work has been tough these past few weeks. A family I became very close with had to make difficult end-of-life decisions for a family member they loved so dearly. I attended the funeral for that person yesterday, and then returned to work to have a very difficult conversation about DNR status with another family. I went home exhausted and hoping for better today.
Alas, that was not to be. I had thought I was mentally prepared for what today would bring, but I forgot about the x-factor. The fact that one never knows what patients will be admitted overnight, how very sick they can be, and how complicated their family dynamics can be.
As the social worker, fixing and/or managing the sickness never falls to me. But managing and putting band-aids on broken, messy, and/or complicated family dynamics is most definitely in my job description.
Throw in my more typical (but still required, even on crazy days) tasks of introducing myself to new families and orienting them to the unit and the hospital, and my day went from predictably bad to unpredictably miserable. I didn't leave until 8:30pm.
I feel like this always happens when I'm working a short week and gearing up for a vacation. All the chaos that might have been spread over 5 days somehow knows to squeeze itself into 3. On one hand, I'm glad I'm dealing with it all, as I always hate to leave a mess for my coworker who covers for me when I'm out. On the other hand, I'm exhausted, and unsure how I'll rally to make it to work tomorrow... especially given that I'll be walking to work in a snow storm.
It's as though every ounce of my energy must be drained before being able to go on vacation to replenish it.
I don't even have the energy to pack.
I still wouldn't trade this job for any other in the world.