The Transience of Life - page 2

by CrufflerJJ

6,767 Views | 24 Comments

In the 19 years that I was active as a volunteer EMS member of my local fire department (2 years NREMT-Basic + 17 years NREMT-Paramedic), I was often amazed at the difference between a "scene" on the day of getting a call,... Read More


  1. 3
    Thank you for this well written piece.

    As a family member whose loved one was one became "not here" I really appreciated those nurses who fought for his life against all odds. They were there for him and for me. I hope that after I left he became a "not here"so they could do it over again. It is a talent and a gift to be able to let go of patients quickly.
  2. 1
    Well written and thank you.
    I have thought this many times before.
    I like the way aknottedyarn put it.
    To repeat the process over and over is a talent. To be "not here" allows us to put
    the past aside and move on to next one pt who needs help.
    aknottedyarn likes this.
  3. 0
    What a lovely piece of writing. Well done. Very moving. My grandpa spent his last days on earth in an ICU after a heart attack. I was in my early 20s. Watching the nurses care for him was amazing. They treated him with so much respect and compassion. It was actually one of the first moments where I thought I might want to become a nurse. Thank you for being an ICU nurse and for all that you do. Also thank you for your time in emergency services. My husband is a paramedic. I know all too well how tough a job that is.
  4. 4
    Very poetic and deeply moving. It brought tears to my eyes. Being an ICU nurse really places you on that "edge" between life and death.

    I try to not become too connected with my patients. Even after 2 years of being an ICU nurse, it's very hard to separate oneself from another "human being".
    CrufflerJJ, maelstrom143, anotherone, and 1 other like this.
  5. 5
    Quote from annneubery
    Very poetic and deeply moving. It brought tears to my eyes. Being an ICU nurse really places you on that "edge" between life and death.

    I try to not become too connected with my patients. Even after 2 years of being an ICU nurse, it's very hard to separate oneself from another "human being".
    To all who have posted responses to my article - Thank You! This was the first article I've done on allnurses.com .

    As to trying to not "become too connected with my patients", it's a delicate balancing act. In EMS, as with nursing, I find it necessary to maintain a professional distance while still leaving myself open to empathize/feel. It's very possible to prevent personal pain/mental anguish by putting up high "walls", not feeling anything when a pt suffers or passes away. In doing so, however, I think that the caregiver loses an essential part of CARING. Caring (in my infrequently humble opinion) isn't about performing a technical procedure. It's a give & take relationship between the caregiver, the patient, and the pt's family. Caring requires a sometimes painful honesty - being honest with yourself as to your personal limits, as well as being honest with your patient.

    Care too much, and the pain you feel prevents you from "doing what needs to be done." Care too little, and you don't give your pt the respect they deserve as a human being. As with many things in life and medicine, it's a balancing act.

    Sometimes, as when I "triaged out" and turned my back on a pinned driver who was burning to death in order to care for the other driver involved in a two vehicle head-on collision, I have to put up high walls to shield myself from the pain. Lock away your feelings so that you can do your job, then revisit/embrace the feelings at a later time. Share the feelings with someone you trust, or they WILL eat away at you.

    As said by the Prophets Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson in "Limelight":
    Cast in this unlikely role
    Ill-equipped to act
    With insufficient tact
    One must put up barriers
    To keep oneself intact
  6. 3
    great article. I've been a nurse and firefighter for the past 13 years and i've had the same line of thinking - how a scene that was only days before a view out of a nightmare could look so peaceful and unaffected. I also get to thinking about how somebody's life is probably falling apart right at this instant - house fires, major wrecks, severe illness, you name it. It's humbling really, makes me thankful for every good moment of my life.
    Ginger80, aknottedyarn, and CrufflerJJ like this.
  7. 0
    A well written piece...i love it..
  8. 2
    It's always a weird feeling to have a coding patient in the resuscitation room at one moment, and the next moment, have for example a child with a dislocated elbow after the previous patient's body was cleared out. Do patients ever wonder who was in the room before them?
    CrufflerJJ and imintrouble like this.
  9. 2
    Nicely stated....being a nurse and 48 years old, with 3 grown children, and much "life" in my rear view mirror...I have had these perceptions or moments in the past, you summed it up well. It urges me to continue to "live" every moment, an yet elicits melancholy for me personally. I was standing out in my front yard a few days ago, trying to "hear" the distant sound of the several children that used to come to our house for daycare, there were many... trying to invoke my mind's eye to bring up some footage of lives that were lived right at this very location, and coming to terms once more with how time rolls on without apologizing. Thanks for sharing :-)
    exit96
    CrufflerJJ and Ginger80 like this.
  10. 0
    Life goes on, but you said it so much better.


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