Posted by: alainnneart | June 24, 2009

“His claim to his home is deep, but there are too many ghosts. He must absorb without being absorbed.”

My days are getting longer, as with the summer sun.

There are these moments where I am so happy.  I see a patient defy odds, come back from the brink, move onto a happy and long life.

And then comes the crashing of children.  They are taken so soon, so quickly.  They are so innocent and their time is gone in the blink of the eye.

I feel lost.  I once loved my job.  It was what I enjoyed, in a strange way, doing.  Each day was different.  Each day was an adventure.  The good outweighed the bad.  And while sometimes there is a battle that you try to help fight and you lose, at least you had the courage to look the patient in the eye and tell them you tried everything possible.

I don’t feel that way anymore.  I feel haunted.  The tired expressions, the tear stained faces, the nonchalant way of the doctors saying, “oh well” when our patient dies.  I feel drained.  Like an old fashioned cartoon, there is a hole in my dam of emotions.  I plug the hole with my finger and another leak springs up.  I reach to plug that one and another occurs.  This onslaught of emotion cannot be held back.  It’s too much for one person to take.  Too much to handle.

Late at night I snuggle SC and breathe in the delicate smell of my child.  It helps replace the sounds of sirens, the smell of the hospital, the feel of the IV bags that drip into the veins quietly whispering an unspoken prayer of hope…

But always, before I close my eyes, I see the patients I have lost.  They are haunting me.  A chill settles into my soul and an embrace SC, feeling his warm breathe on my neck as he snuggles.  SC keeps me grounded.  He brings me back to life.



  1. I have no frame of reference for what you must be going through, but I appreciate this poignant post. Maybe being a doctor is just one stop on your journey to something that requires this frame of reference for a time. Whatever you choose to do about these feelings, you will be making a big impact in these people’s worlds. Thank you.

  2. p.s. Found you through Flutter, in case you were wondering.

    • ahhh, flutter. I like her blog. found her by accident.

  3. It’s unclear from the several posts I read what your work is, exactly. I’m guessing you’re a cancer nurse, which is one of the most truly noble callings a person could have. It takes enormous courage and compassion to face down death every day and still believe in life. The IV bag whispering a prayer of hope is a beautiful statement.

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I see we live in the same city.

    • good guess.
      and i do believe that we are in the same city. Maybe that’s me sitting next to you drinking too much black coffee.

  4. Hi again. I’m linking to this post tomorrow…

  5. I’ve wondered, how through my pregnancy losses, the doctors and nurses act so distant and like it is an every day occurrence. I guess if they allowed themselves to get emotionally involved in every patient’s heart ache they would just about lose their mind.

    • Yaya- First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. All my words are bound to fail. I can say that sometimes we need this protective bubble to deal with all the death around us. I know that doesn’t change much but I can tell you, we all feel. I go to meetings every morning and there are always tears. ALWAYS. Perhaps it’s society that makes us be so unfeeling in person, because being emotional is a sign of weakness. I always cry with family members because for me I have been allowed to become the family member in sometimes the worst time of people’s lives.

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