I've mentioned before that I'm an oncology nurse. Prior to oncology I worked on a medicine floor. On the medicine floor it seemed easier to displace myself from what was happening to my patients. For example, I knew I wouldn't be the person in the bed, ventilated and barely alive with COPD because I didn't smoke. I didn't have diabetes so I wouldn't be the person with the necrotic feet. But now in oncology it's not so easy to say that. I could easily be the healthy, strong, active 33 year old just diagnosed with leukemia. The majority of my patients have no previous medical history. They "just" have cancer. That could so easily be myself or those I love. Cancer has no prejudices. It affects all ages & races.
It is for this reason that I sometimes feel uneasy and anxious. Sometimes I can't even pinpoint why I feel anxious. But then I realize, it's because I'm waiting for my other shoe to drop. All of my patients and their families were just going along, living their life. And then the shoe fell. Boom. Cancer. So what prevents a shoe from dropping on me? I had this discussion with a co-worker/friend of mine the other day. I was worried that I was the only one who felt like this. But she feels the same way.
Sometimes I think I'm not cut out for this job. I should go to an eye clinic or to dermatology. Something less emotional. But I LOVE my job. I love working with my patients and their families. I enjoy helping them deal with the fallen shoe. I know that someday however I may have to leave oncology. Or at least take a break from it to re-energize myself. But until then I will keep dodging shoes.