Insensitive indifference

My hands didn’t shake. Not one bit. The old man who was joking with me just the night before… now lay dying in front of me. CPR, epi, bicarb, calcium… we tried it all.

But while pulling up and/or assembling each medication – my hands didn’t shake at all. My co-pharmacist’s hands were trembling. She forgot to take the cap off the Epi syringe at one point, her hands shaking so badly.

She felt something. She understood the gravity of the situation.

So did I… as in I knew the gravity of the situation.

But I felt nothing. So I offered to assemble the meds, with my ridiculously stable hands.

And I wondered why a sense of numbing calmness always spreads through my body in such situations. Especially when I cried my heart out all the way home the first time I ever saw someone die. And the second time. And the twelfth time. And time and time again until – well I don’t know really when the crying stopped.

But since whenever that was… that numbing calmness continues to spread through my body whenever these situations come knocking on anyone’s door. Apparently including mine.

Today some asshole driving exceptionally recklessly on the freeway didn’t allow me to merge even though my merge lane was long finished. I was already on the freeway. He, going 100mph+ ran me off onto the shoulder while almost side swiping me from behind which had there been a collision would have sent my car flipping.

And yet I was calm. I was annoyed and honked a million times. But that scared feeling – it just wasn’t there.

Before I came into the chaotic inpatient setting – this situation would have scared the daylights out of me. Every minuscule part of my body would have been tingling with fear. But no, today I was calm… as if it had never happened.

For those who have known me I’m the feelingest feeler on the planet. I feel emotion over everything to the point where it eats me alive.

These situations once upon a time would have torn me to shreds… tears pouring out of my eyes.

When did I become so insensitive, indifferent? Or is the question – “am I really insensitive/indifferent?”

Or did I just find ways to put up walls around my feelings, my heart every time harm or death came knocking at someone or another’s door? Do I force myself to not feel so that I can continue functioning on my job? In my life?

How does the biggest emotional feeler (like myself), the “I cry when others cry” person that I am – learn how to be so stone hearted? So decidedly unaffected?


Does anyone else in the medical field feel this way?

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