You know. Working in the ER sucks and stuff. I had a total shit, frustrating day- new hospital has finally caught on to my foot dragging and forced me into triage, I had my first night up there since forever, And it still sucks, but it sucked extra tonight. Andd I'm just about to lose my shit on a couple people here who apparently think I don't notice that they're talking to me like I'm an idiot.
But. I went home, and got a beer, and I'm going through my blogroll, and I've come to the conclusion that I really just need to shut the hell up. I've been an intermittent lurker on Learning to Hope- if y'all aren't familiar with Tashi's story, she just lost her husband about 5 months ago to brain cancer. The post I've linked to in particular ripped my heart out even more than everything else because it reminded me so much of my own husband. Not even just the fact that we're about the same ages, married about the same amount of time, but reading Tashi's story about falling in love with Wash. She expresses so perfectly the feelings that I had at a younger age- I accepted that I would never get married, that I would always be alone- that I was difficult and weird enough that no one would ever understand or tolerate me, and even if that did that I could never tolerate them. And the feeling of being so pleasantly surprised when someone was actually out there- someone that I not only felt at ease with but someone who was everything missing from me that I wanted to be. Someone that was my best friend and forever companion that I just take for granted every day, my token partner in all the mundane high points of daily life- going out for tofu noodles, a DVR full of shows we can't watch without each other, making stupid references to things no one else would understand. And just the thought of losing that, in such a painful and cruel way, knots up my stomach and brings me to tears.
I've read her stories and I've met people in her position and in Wash's position. I want so badly to have something to say and to contribute to people forced to face such emotional devastation, and I come up with absolutely nothing. As much as I like to think that I'm tough and resilient, the truth is that I've lived a cushy ass 26 years and there is nothing I can offer any of these brave souls other than the same compassion and platitudes as any other person who hasn't been there.
The sickest part of it all is how many people hurting just as deeply probably cross my path whom I fail to offer even my inconsequential gestures of kindness. The ER in particular is a unique combination of high volume bullshit and utter chaos that empathy almost has to be cut away sometimes for the sake of effectiveness. We train ourselves to be so detached that even in the quiet moments, we don't feel as we once would have. I occasionally find myself really thinking about what it must actually be like to be the one in the bed, or the one freaking out worrying about the person you love more than your own life, or the one who has just lost the world that they know, and I bewail all the people I've been short with, all the people in need that I've had to run out on because someone else needed me. I beat myself up about the stupid things that cross me, and about all the beautiful things and people I am surrounded by all the time, who I fail to be thankful for, who I fail to tell how much I adore them every single day like I should. So I go off to shower and to go to bed, swearing that I will remind myself that I never know who among me is living the nightmare, and to try and always be kind. Praying that I'll do better tomorrow. I do this knowing that I will probably fail, probably soon- but it's the only thing I can think to do to start helping.