In the middle of a horrible shift last week one of my colleagues got trapped in the sluice. In between going in and trying to leave again she’d somehow she managed to make the door handle fall off and so couldn’t get the door open.
Having no idea what to do she’d had to wait until someone walked passed the door and then bang on the glass to attract their attention. Her face was a mix of amusement at the rediculousness of the situation and a slight panic that we wouldn’t be able to get her out and she’d have to wait until we got maintenence in.
Seeing her face through the glass in the door while we shouted instructions and she tried to reatttach the handle while lauging her head off give me the giggles.
I really needed that.
She finally got out of the sluice, her hands covered in oil from trying to fix the door handle and we stood in the corridoor and laughed.
On the unit we have to find the fun in things or we’d become completely weighed down with the intensity of everything. We share the journeys with all the different parents; the highs and lows, the good times and bad, sometimes even the end.
We celebrate the good things and we give them someone to lean on throughout the bad. We remember the babies and families, sometimes years after they’ve left the unit but we can’t take things to heart.
I like to think that we have big hearts and that’s part of what made us want to be neonatal nurses in the first place but none of us have a heart big enough or shoulders broad enough to live all these journeys with the parents.
We have to find ways to let go or the reality of a unit full of sick and sometimes dying children would consume us.
Even on the worst days we can still find the fun in things; if you ever discover that you can’t that’s when it’s time for a new job.