Thursday, 25 March 2010

Life in the hospital

Working in a hospital involves interactions with people. Every minute of every shift somehow involves dealing with the people around you. Be it co-workers, patients, families of patients or phonecalls from others wanting to know about staff/patients/regulations etc. It's a never-ending stream of interactions that often forces a person to shut down their emotions and deal with things as professionally as possible.
The hospital is a place of extremes. We see people on the best and worst days of their lives. We see the beginnings and the endings. We see yelling, swearing, spitting, hitting. We see tears, hugs, smiles, laughter. Giggling children, wailing babies, spry old men with a wink and a smile, bent old men who sigh as they try to stand with a helper on either side. Couples with their heads together whispering softly, mothers cuddling babies close, drunken people alone and angry, people in pain curled up and crying. And it's not all that odd to see all of the above in the span of a day.
There's a part of us that gets involved, that hugs people and cries with them. Medicine for some, soft words or a listening ear, redirecting those who need it. We go through our day and do whatever we can, in the time available. And then... and then we go home and try to move on. Move on to things that have nothing to do with the sick and the dying, and the struggles at work. But somehow work becomes a part of us, and those around us come to expect the same professional we are at work. We are trusted with secrets that break our hearts. We are told about the most intimate details of peoples lives and health. And we stay professional, and we keep listening.
Sometimes I struggle with the stories I have heard. Both at work and outside. Because really, my life is easy. I have never dealt with what some people go through. And I have learned... some of the "strongest" people I know, they're the ones that have overcome, and continue to overcome some amazing struggles.
Through everything, and all the stories I've heard so far, I must go with an oft heard saying: Don't let life pass you by. Live it to the fullest because you never know what's around the next bend.

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