Here is something I wrote not too long after starting that first job as a caregiver:
Sunday, February 6, 2011
A visit with Death
The comments from "anonymous" on my previous post prompted me to reread some things that I had written during my first healthcare job, before I had a blog, where I worked as a caregiver in a nursing home. I've been rereading my blog, and realize I do sound a lot less compassionate now than I used to. I can't decide if I'm bothered by this. I really don't think that I lack empathy, and I definitely don't act or think cruelly of towards the patients I work with. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, though, and that was not sustainable for me. If being extremely compassionate meant that I was too distraught to do my job (or to get completely burnt out in a matter of months), then it also wasn't something that was good for my residents. I think it is extremely important to offer someone whatever kindness you have, to always give a person the benefit of the doubt, but I don't think it's usually practical to experience a person's troubles on a deeply emotional level. It would be an excessively painful existence, I think, to fully immerse oneself in the pain, suffering, and death that inevitably we are exposed to.