While I should be burried beneath my review books, I just wanted to take a second and post this incredible National Geographic photograph.
Caption of photo: An injured child receives medical treatment after the Haiti earthquake in Port-au-Prince on January 13, 2010. Elsewhere in Port-au-Prince, a pediatric nurse working in an orphanage described trying to save children during the Haiti earthquake. "Objects were falling from shelves, there was debris crashing all around," Susan Westwood told BBC News. "I clung on to the babies and shielded them as best I could."
I began my pediatric rotation just last week, and since have given a lot of thought to what pediatric nursing is all about. M first response: This is so sad, get me out of here. When I walked on to the floor and saw children suffering, I felt uncomfortable and my hair stood on ends. This was new ground for me and uncharted territory, the only children I have ever spent time around are healthy and bright, mostly just obnoxious and spoiled. Working on a medical floor, I wondered what makes them different, these little people? The miniature versions of ourselves, untouched and unspoiled by years of adulthood. The sympathy we have for children in pain is so much more intense than that which we have for whom adults are in similar crisis. When my patient, a 10 year old boy who had a brain tumor removed for the second time began to yelp in pain upon moving his head, I felt an incredible emotional response to that sound. The cries of children are high pitched and piercing, but mostly the sound just reverberates through your heart, pulls and tugs. Instinct tells you to comfort them, your emotional response might be to cry with them, but really, you know that ultimately, nothing is going to take away their pain. You would swallow it whole if you could. But this isn't the Green Mile, and there's no magic trick to play. I have always sworn off pediatrics, I could never imagine working with such a vulnerable population, it just seemed unfair and unbearable. Even with the profound sadness of human suffering, I felt inspired by their courage but mostly by their spirit. Children have such a bright inner light, curiosity and joy, but these children have dimmed. As uncomfortable as this suffering makes me - for the first time on any clinical rotation, I felt at home. But maybe that's because Disney movies are playing in the background and I might still be 12 years old.