I instinctively reach out to grab I.V. - forget I don’t have gloves on.
Blood is now in my cut from the morning.
Patient is HIV+.
Told I cannot breastfeed.
Go home to baby who doesn’t know what hit him. Won’t take a bottle from me.
...wish I had enjoyed that last 3 am feed more.
...need to preop with my attending for next day.
Life goes on.
Never tell anyone except my husband I’m scared- even w/him, I underplay.
Oh, & still have to ask for pump breaks to relieve the pain.
p.s. Stopping breastfeeding cold turkey is ill-advised.Cabbage leaves 🥬 (google it) don’t smell so good under scrubs
I smile when I should. I take good care of patients.
I’m strong after all.
2 weeks later I have a high fever. Convinced I’m seroconverting. That’s what internet says.
Still I talk to no one. There is despair, anger. But more despair.
Were my fears rational? Likely not.
But they were MY FEARS. And I should have asked for help.
Luckily, I was surrounded by colleagues, family & friends who may not have known the depth of it, but unknowingly lifted me-my team.
Time and team healed- but may not have.
Talk about it. There is always someone to listen & help. You’re never too strong for help.
Don’t ever put work before your mental health.
If it’s impacting you, it’s not irrational- it’s real. It’s your life.