Im afraid you are going to have to bear with me on this one. I really am not sure how to organise my thoughts on this. All I know is that I have a good few thoughts milling through my head after a recent job and I figured, whats the point of having a blog if I dont share them with you all!
So excuse me if this really does come out like a rambling mess, I dont think I have a point to make, just some observations to share.
I attended a job recently whereby a young lady had committed suicide. She was staying with her parents at the time and it was her unfortunate mother who found her hanging in her room when she came home from work. She had cut her down before she phoned 999 and even though we arrived within 4 minutes from the call being connected, it was very obvious that there was nothing we could do to try and bring her daughter back.
Its strange that I have only recently wrote about the impact of the death of a child (even as an adult) has on a parent, and yet, here I am again dealing with another grieving parent, except this time its even worse.
There was no apparent warning of any suicidal thoughts. No history of psychiatric illness, or recent upset even. Her mum told me that they had shared a meal last night and had discussed her recent promotion at work, everything seemed fine. There was no warning what so ever, that her daughter may have had any intention to end her life, yet less than 24 hours later, she had to witness a sight that will never, ever leave her thoughts.
I dealt with the scene, I provided comfort and support as best as I could (im sure this made no difference at all), I liased with the police on scene and informed all the relevant parties, such as the the patients GP and our control, of the outcome of the patients last act.
I left the house and got on with my day.
Next job was to a minor abdo pain, then onto an epistaxis (nosebleed), then a minor RTC. All in all another 9 jobs during the night shift. Just another shift. Never another thought given to the hanging 11 hours earlier……until I was on my way home.
I am a bit soft lump at times. I cry at films, and dont even get me started on Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. The reason for this is that whenever I am watching something sad or traumatic, or if I deal with something tough at work, I always tend to put myself in their situation. I stupidly ask myself “what would I have felt like if it was me?”, “What must that be like?”
In this case:
“What would it be like if I came in and saw one of my loved ones hanging?”
“What must it be like knowning that as you have been going through your day at work, someone you love dearly is hanging at home”
“How gulity would I feel, if I hadnt noticed that someone important to me was going through such a terrible time, that their only escape was to kill themselves”
In the three questions above,I intially asked about what it would be like if I saw my child….., but it was so painful to even see that sentance that I dont like it in print, sounds daft I know but…
I was driving home thinking all of these things when I suddenly started to tear up, which then made me question why I was crying.
Is it because I was so touched by the trauma and suffering that I had witnessed earlier in the shift, both from the mother and her daughter? Or was it because i was transferring the emotions of the day onto my own life and going through my own fears and imagining the horror of it in relation to my own family?
Either way, it almost felt wrong that I was getting so upset by it. It felt like I was stealing someone elses grief. Surely the most appropriate and correct response would be to have a quiet moment of reflection and hope that the family are able to support one another and get through this truly horrendous time, hope that the daughter is now at peace.
I was then caught with other feelings, not anger, but dismay that someone can put their family though so much suffering. I have dealt with a good deal of suicides so far in my career, from jumpers, hangings, overdoses, shootings, lying in front of trains and driving at speed into walls. All of which have finally ended the suffering and turmoil of the person involved but have also left scars on those that have to find them.
I have never had suicidal thoughts, I cannot, and do not want to imagine what that must be like to have so little to live for that there is only one option left. It must be a terrible place to be, hell on earth.
I have so many thoughts going around my head. I dont know whay this one has affected me so much. I know that it all goes down as experience, it will end up as another story shared with new colleagues, but it will also be another one stored away, but never forgotten. The house where it happened is on my way home from work, and I will pass it for the rest of my working career.
I am not religious, I dont believe in a god or a heaven or hell. I do believe in an afterlife of sorts, I believe in the spirit world (I have witnessed too many things for me to disbelieve in spirits) but sometimes I wish I did have faith. I envy the comfort that some people gain from having a faith, but on the other hand, isnt suicide a sin? If I was religious would I also have to deal with the thought that my patient who hung herself to escape the turmoil she had when alive is now in hell?
As I said at the beginning, this has probably come out as a ramble. I have not edited or re-read this,I want it to be as it came out of my head and on to the keyboard, so I apologise for any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
Thank you for reading and I hope I havent depressed you too much.