I work in a Behavioral Health unit. The psych unit of the hospital. We get alot of patients, from major mental crisises, to unmanageable depression. The object is to help someone out of their crisis and hope they don’t have to come back.
But there will always be the patients who come back. The ones who count on us to help them, the ones who need us.
Because of that, there are patients that we get to know. We see them when they are at their worst, and we nurture them back to stability. We come to love them, in our way.
In a way, they begin to become like old friends. And each time I discharge them, I give a kick in the pants, and tell them I better not see them round these parts again… And then I give them a hug, and tell them that seriously, we will always be here if they need… And then they are gone.
And days go by, and weeks, and months. For most people, it is, out of sight out of mind. The doors of our unit revolve too quickly to dwell. But for those who have the softest parts of my heart, I imagine I haven’t seen them because they are doing so well in the world. I don’t let my mind imagine the worst.
But sometimes it happens. We live in a small town. And when I happen upon the news article declairing one of my most special patients dead… a piece of my heart breaks away.
There are downsides to every situation, but this is the very worst part of my job. Everybody dies, it is something a hospital is very familiar with, but when one of my patients dies, it cuts me as a failing.
Why didn’t you come to us for help?
I am not a doctor. I’m not even a nurse. I am the person who gets you coffee, who sets up and cleans the shower, the person who wakes you up in the morning, the person who tells you that the sun is out and if you’re not quick, you’ll miss it! I can’t take away your problems, or your pain. All I can do is offer my hand when you’ve fallen, and try my damnedest to help you remember how to smile.
And today, I pushed myself to get up, to go out and see the sun, to smile… because I would never be able to do that for you again. I smiled, because I would never see you smile again..