Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bearing Witness

There's a list of calls, the ones you hear about and shudder. The ones you hope you don't see but know if you work the road long enough you will. I've slowly checked various ones off, the eyes of those patients making a mosaic on the insides of my eyelids, the few of thousands of patients and families that I remember, with terrible visceral clarity. Those are the calls where as I step on scene, I have a brief moment where I wonder, will this be the one where I spit the bit, then I make my assessment and go to work, despite and because something terrible is in front of me. 

It's said this job makes you hard. I don't want that. I want to stay soft, stay present and human and bear witness to these moments. I want to shepard my patients and their families through these horrible scenes. There is a beauty in the spaces, in those moments where we know the soul before us is leaving the body, in the sound of a mother's heart breaking open. These spaces are just as important as the triumphant save, and they occur so very frequently. It's in these moments our humanity is tested, in the foul and the dark and the desperation. I want to hold sacred these places, in the minds of those left behind, that their loved one was valued and cared for, that there was some glow in their darkness. I want to be the person I would want there for me, or my family.