Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grief....

In this job grief is a household name. We see it day in and day out. Most of us deal with it fairly well. I can deal with people dying. I can deal with running a code on someone that was just talking to me. I can deal with the dead teen, mangled in the little red sports car that Mommy and Daddy just bought for them. What I have always had a hard time dealing with is other people's grief, those that are left behind. Like the young wife that is just realizing that her husband of less than a year is dead.

We are called out to an unresponsive, unknown cause. En route we are advised that CPR instructions are being given to the caller. Shit. From the driveway we can hear what sounds like a banshee screaming somewhere inside. We walk in to find the young woman holding her late husband and wailing. While my partner pulls the woman aside, I take a look at him. Not breathing, no pulses and the beginnings of lividity. I attach the leads and run my strip. He's dead. I'm sorry I tell her. I can't stand the look in her eye's begging me to tell her this is all just a dream. I gather my equipment and walk back to the truck, careful not to touch anything because I know this will be a medical examiner case with the cops in tow. I call the doc and he agrees with our decision not to resuscitate, then the supervisor to get the ball rolling. Eventually the house is full. Cops, a detective, the ME, and family. The wife is inconsolable. I feel the tears start to well up in my eyes and have to turn away and walk outside. I light up a cigarette and try to banish the feelings that are coming. I wonder, does it ever get better? Will I ever get over it? If I do, what does that make me?

4 comments:

BuckeyeEMT said...

Don't you think though that if you DID get used to it to the point that it DIDN'T bother you then THAT'S when you should really start to worry? I think that feeling like you do is only human, and perhaps if you got to the point that you 'got over it' then maybe you wouldn't have the compassion you do for your patients. Just my opinion!! :)

Ambulance Driver said...

"The hardest part about not having a soul is remembering a time when you had one."

Stolen from a Tom Clancy novel, but I always liked the sentiment.

Blue Ridge Medic said...

Thanks AD, yea I read that one and liked it as well. I suppose it's just part of being human like bukeyeemt said.

Melissa said...

I've been at this for 10 years and seeing grieving family members always brings me to tears. It's when this doesn't happen that I will know it's time to move on to another career.