Doors represent so many areas of our lives. They open and close leading us through the chapters of life.
But these doors…these doors can seem heavier and bigger than most.
These doors represent a lot of fear and often the ‘bad’ days in people’s lives. Patient’s come in scared and not sure what to do next. Some people walk in, some are pushed in or rolled in.
Here – this isn’t a ‘easy’ place. It’s not where most people want to be – but it is where I want to be. Here I work with a team of incredibly knowledgeable and trained staff and providers. People who give their nights, weekends and holidays to be there for others 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. People who give up time with their families and miss important events in order to be there for others.
I walk in through these doors most days knowing I am scheduled for a 12 hour shift. That 12 hour shift will however often turn into at least 13 or 14 hours. My shifts are so unpredictable that my husband has an app to be able to track if I have left the hospital yet in order to curb his anxiety that something has happened to me.
Through these doors are the rooms in which fears are crushed or at times come true. Tears are shed. Reassurance is given.
The shifts are long and exhausting, physically and emotionally. But the shifts are also rewarding. The trust and ability to help others in a very real way – that is something I am amazed by on a daily basis.
At the end of the shift, I walk back out those double doors. Open the car door and sit. Alone for the first time in hours, able to sit and reflect. Emotions are allowed to be feltagain…because for the last 12 hours – there has only beentime for action and reaction. There has been history, physical and differential diagnosis. Treatment planning and plan for further care. Tears have been shed on plenty of drives home. Many nights I pray more for patients I have cared for than anyone else.
But finally – each night (or in the wee hours of the morning), I walk through the most important door for me. The door that leads from the garage into the entryway of my home. This door represents my other life. The life that keeps me going. I take a deep breath and exhale before walking through. I let go of the last shift – because on goes life and behind this door, is the little dog that will run to greet me wagging his entire rearend instead of just his tail. The husband who supports this craziness that I enjoy and has learned the hard way that we don’t make plans for after a shift... or for early morning after a late night shift.
As the doors keep opening and closing, you learn what’s most important…or rather who is most important. I’ve learned to say ‘I love you’ without hesitation to all those I care about. I’ve learned to be tough – because being the youngest provider and female isn’t easy. I’ve learned being wrong has real consequences, but all we can do is keep learning.
Because the best part? Tomorrow is a new day with new doors that may lead anywhere.