Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today, I failed

Today we had a patient in our center that was not normal for us. We had a 10 year old child with a progressive disease that will shorten this chid's life. She has been treated several hours away from here in the hospital, but her doctors set up so she can get her monthly medicine locally instead of having to drive.

I wanted to be reassuring to this mother and child. I wanted to remember what it was like to BE her, and to help her feel empowered. I wanted to reassure her that they will learn to live with this and will understand everything that is happening and how to put one step in front of the other....eventually.

Instead, I cracked. I didn't cry. I did that once at work and swore I would never be that vunerable again, no matter how shattered my heart might feel. However, I had to step away from this mother as I watched her shake, to refer to a piece of paper where the doctor had written down for her what was going to happen. I watched her struggle and nearly panic when her child's blood pressure was sky-high. I did explain to her that the blood pressure was because the little girl was scared about the needle required to start her IV line for her medications.

After they were set up and and I had taken time to acclimate myself, I forced myself to do the paperwork process with them. I didn't want to run and hide from a sick 10 year old. I need to be stronger than that and I need to be courageous enough to show this mom she CAN find her courage.

I walked this mother through nearly 20 minutes of paperwork. It's the standard CYA protocals in medicine. However, it can be confusing. Several times, the mother nearly flipped out as I tried to educate her on the process of getting treatments. I explained. I answered her questions. I took my time and I was gentle with her.

She thanked me when we were done, but I could have done better. I should have done better. All I can promise myself is that next month I WILL do better. Sadly, they will be there every month. I have more opportunities to learn how to help other mothers without being pulled back into my own pain and grief by touching it to help others.

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