A Conundrum in Life: Simultaneous Happy/Sad

all at the same time

confusing emotions

Ever notice when a Emergency Siren BLASTS just as you’re in the middle of a really happy moment (like falling in love, or celebrating something?) I do. It reminds me that JOY and SADNESS happen at the same moment. There’s never a time when all of the people everywhere are happy… or sad. I guess that’s what makes the world work in a weird way.  Unfortunately or fortunately we have to experience each emotion to understand the difference, as a basis of comparison, kind’a like SALTY and SWEET. I mean, even Fairy Tales have tragedy (sadly, Bambi and Cinderella lose their Moms.)

Nightmare Night-Shift —

At the Hospital last night I ended up staying past my ER Shift, way into the morning hours.  Every once in awhile in the ER, you get to know repeat patients and their families. Sure, you recognize Frequent Fliers (there for drugs) or Homeless People (there for food). But I’m talking about Patients who come in for chronic problems, along with their family members who love, worry and support them.

So last night this wonderful Hispanic Family brings in their 70 year-old Abuela (recently-widowed, mother of 13, grandmother of 31) with breathing problems and chest pains. I’ve seen them many times before, due to Abuela’s chronic health issues.

Surrounded by her hard-working and loving family (all became American Citizens btw) Abuela’s MUCH WORSE than usual. She’s weak, sweating, disoriented and gasping for breath. No Triage Nurses are around (strangely) so I rush her through the Trauma Door and suddenly the Charge Nurse grabs her wheelchair, pushes her into into Bed 1, hoists her onto the gurney —

Staff storms in!
Curtain swishes CLOSED!
Frantic NOISE!

Standing there dazed, I barely notice when the Psych Nurse taps me on the shoulder and asks me to bring the Family into the PEDS WAITING ROOM (aka “The Bad News Room.”)

When there are no words…

Outside the door, I hear painful GASPS and SOBS! I swallow my heart. But stay… and wait… and wait.

When the Psyche Nurse walks out, I walk in. I try to comfort Abuela’s distraught daughters and sons, but what can you really say? NOTHING. You can HUG and LISTEN, but that’s really all you can do in a situation like this. Oh yeah, you also CRY… because it stirs up… MEMORIES…

At 5:30 AM (looking my ugliest) I’m in the elevator on my way to the parking lot, and a Man says, “Evie?” (Oh, It’s the Nice Dad of an old HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND I haven’t seen in years. Usually I’d be bummed, looking so awful, but today I don’t even care.)

Why are you in the hospital, is everything okay?

A proud grin —

_ _ _ _ _ _  (patient confidentiality) just had a baby!  Come see!

So I do…

And that’s what I mean about HAPPY/SAD…

(What Happy/Sad Moments have you experienced this year already? Or ever?)


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Sentenced to volunteer at Greater L.A. Medical (GLAM!) Hospital... I'm on-call in my worst nightmare -- ?!
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