Thursday, July 9, 2009

First of Many Goodbyes

My apologies for the long pause between posts.

Last week I said a final goodbye to all the great staff in the ED I've been haunting off and on since Dec 2006. This past year it was as close to a 'home base' as I've had since leaving Whistler.

Last summer it was me working mostly night shifts and studying for the MCAT during the quiet times. Initially I was hesitant to ever bring up that I hoped to get into med school, partly because I was dreading telling everyone about the rejections that were sure to come. I didn't want all the negative comments I was fielding at school to start bombarding me again. But much to my surprise, once the word got out, the staff became immensely supportive.

The docs gave me extra time, going over lab results, showing me xrays, letting me do minor procedures, talking me through others...the nurses would tease me by calling me "Dr. Blackbear", check in all the time on how my applications were going, help me prep for interviews, etc. Last Friday I went to a wedding of one of the nurses (who married one of our ATLS paramedics). At the end of the night as I was heading out I got waylayed by many hugs, email exchanges, more hugs, photos, words of encouragement and congratulations. Some surprise send offs as well from people I would have never guessed I'd get kudos from. One nurse who I've always thought figured I was a flake...came up to me and took my hands saying "you are an amazing nurse who will make an amazing doctor, you have the heart...and you have the brains." It was possibly the kindest thing a colleague has ever said to me...especially coming from someone I wouldn't consider myself buddy-buddy with.

It was tough saying goodbye. I started to feel those stirrings in my stomach of sadness that come when you see a chapter of your life ending. Working in the ED means you deal with the belligerent drunks, the devastated parents, the scared children, the high maintenance malingerers. You deal with these people together and go through the spectrum of human experience with your colleagues. This is something unique to being in the trenches. So above the gossiping, the drama, and the politics, you become a group that genuinely looks out for each other and feels somewhat protective of one another. The wedding was a great way to see everyone in a relaxed and celebratory environment. My last image of the night was seeing my 60-something boss laughing while doing the twist with her husband. I am still smiling thinking about it.

These last few days have been bliss. Housesitting for a good friend in Whistler and getting a chance to charge my batteries with daily dog walks in the forest, yoga at my favorite studio, sleeping in, eating out, reading, and drinking some delicious vino with my manfriend. Tomorrow I start the 2 day drive to my next (and final!) nursing contract before moving to Ireland.

It's going to be a hellish schedule. 2 days, 2 nights, sleep, repeat. Ugh.

Ah well, it'll be my last chance to enjoy the beauty that is this amazing province and be still.

This last little bit of sand sure does seem to slip through the hourglass more quickly!

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