I have to be honest, the first time I came upon the story and video below, I cried.
Seriously, the waterworks were a steady stream of moisture down my face, never mind the fact that the video had ended at least 5 minutes earlier. It touched my heart in a way I’m not sure I can even put into words, but I’m going to try.
The medical field is an absolutely amazing place to live and work within. You’re constantly surrounded by brilliant minds, loving hearts and giving hands. But with the life of a healthcare worker, comes a life full of thankless, meal-less, “Restroom break? What’s a restroom?” and “How is that ‘sitting’ thing done again?” days, nights and weekends.
Honestly, working in healthcare is hard. Hard, emotional and exhausting. And depending on what department/unit you work in, it can be even more hard, emotional and exhausting. Departments and units such as the Emergency Room, ICU, CCU, Neuro-Intensive, as well as both pediatric and neonatal ICU’s, are without doubt some of the most stressful, exhausting, emotional, heartbreaking, amazing, spirit-lifting, spirit-shattering, and life changing departments/units that one can work in. No two shifts are ever the same. Actually, no two hours are ever the same. They’re the ultimate roller-coaster units. Things change by the minute, with twists and turns all throughout the day or night.
As a radiologic technologist, I worked primarily in the Emergency Room for over 7 years. And while it was, and still is, my favorite place to work, it came with some extremely difficult moments. Difficult moments full of emotions, although there’s no time to dwell on them in those moments. Moments that I never thought I would encounter in my life, even working in healthcare. Moments and situations that seem too unreal to be real.
Have you ever helped perform CPR on a infant who’s mother beat them within a few breaths of death? And in such a unimaginable and horrific way that even the most talented horror writers in Hollywood would never think of it. A infant so young and tiny that you only need two fingers for chest compressions. Who’s precious face you will never forget…
Have you ever seen a trauma surgeon crack open the chest of a teenager in order to manually pump his heart, trying everything he possibly could to save this young man from losing his life to a unnecessary shooting? Only to lose him 45 minutes later…
I have. More than once.
Have you ever been present when law enforcement had to tell a preteen, who was in a horrific car accident, who’s scared, crying, and asking about mother and brother constantly, that they didn’t survive?
Have you ever done an exam on a 80 year old who is so malnourished that she barely weighs 80lbs? Who spent over 2 weeks laying in her own urine and feces, developing severe bed sores and crying out for someone to help her? All because her children had chosen not to check in on her and care for her for 2 weeks…
I have. Too many times to count.
I could continue to list various situations I’ve encountered for days, months, probably a year or two. These are the moments that touch your heart in such a way that words cannot describe. These are the moments that make you wonder how much longer you can handle it. Because it can be truly heartbreaking. It can absolutely drain you…physically, emotionally and mentally.
As soon as you start to wonder if you can do it anymore, He sends a patient and their family to comeback 6, 9, 12 months later say “Thank You” to everyone who helped save their life. To hug your neck and tell you how grateful they are to have had you as part of the team that cared for them. And right then, in that very moment, God reminds you that you are doing exactly what He meant for you to. That even though you don’t really realize it in those situations/traumas just how important each and every member of that care team is, we are…we are important.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
As spoken in the video, “You don’t think about it on a daily basis, you do what you have to do, because that’s your job. But when you stand back and think about the impact you’re making…”
But that’s something that each of us in healthcare don’t realize because we don’t do what we do and endure what we endure for ourselves, but for our patients. We aren’t in this profession to be praised and thanked. We’re in it to help others through the love that God shows to us. It’s not about the thank you’s, it’s about the patients. Always.
Having been tracked down in the ER by former patients and their families, I can honestly say that when they come up to you and tell you “Thank you for everything you did for me/my daughter/my mom or dad/brother or sister/family…we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you”, it is the most incredible, humbling, breathtaking moment that you can ever experience.
And it makes every last difficulty that comes along with being a healthcare worker, 100% worth it. Because just like all the difficult situations you go through, you never forget that moment of pure, raw, thankful emotions.
THAT’S why we do what we do.