So that I can be a professional and do my job. I just see so many nurses who walk in, treat the symptoms of a dying patient like its no big deal and move on. And I hope noone ever thinks I am that way.
There is a fine line between taking care of yourself mentally and being "cold".
It's not people, but let me tell you about learning to euth. dogs and then doing the job myself.
When I took my classes I took them with a known hoarder (now it's known, then it wasn't).
There were two dogs scheduled to be PTS we brought in for the classes.
The dogs were sedated heavily and then we practiced hitting veins, etc. I asked to do an IM shot as I'd never done one.
We practiced for a while then before the dog woke up, we put it to sleep, well, the instructor did anyway.
And this hoarder gal, she just started bawling. I thought it was so weird. I mean...we didn't even know
the dog. I could say it was sad in the terms that it was sad because life is sad and pet overpopulation was sad.
But when working on the dog, I didn't see it as a dog, really, but a patch of fur that was my target when giving an injection, of piece of fur that had a vein in it I needed to hit. But it wasn't the whole dog, the whole situation at hand.
Later, I started working and had to euth. dogs routinely. They'd be there a few days and then put them down. It is sad, because the overall picture is sad, but it wasn't "heart rending", you know?
Then I had a Golden Retriever. She was an awesome dog. SO sweet. I called her Sierra, her name was Sarah I found out later, but I called her Sierra. She was there for some 8 weeks or so, 2 months I cared for her, daily, letting her out to potty, cleaning her kennel, bringing her back in. She used to bury her head in my armpit when I'd get down to pet her and play with her.
The owner was a complete jerk. Total loser. He had too many dogs and they'd escape and some kid would ride his bike by and yell at them, the entire pack would give chase, and one dog bit. I remember asking the kid to ID the dog that bit him and he said it was her
I told the owner to fight for her life, and he didn't, so after a few months, I was given the euth. order.
I knew Sierra would not be vicious, she was caught up in the chase. My own kids interacted with her, I knew her that well.
When I got the order, I sedated her and then did the euth. (tears are springing up as I write this - that's how much I avoid thinking about this).
I was holding it together, I told her I was sorry and that I knew she was a great dog.
But then a song came on the radio, "Fire and Rain" and I just lost it.
I was sobbing as if she was my own dog. It just really broke my heart
And yet I knew, when it was over, that I could not let myself do that any more or I'll never be able to continue to do this job.
That didn't mean I wasn't going to care for the dogs, but I can't let myself get wrapped up emotionally, or I'm going to burn out real quick.
So long story shorter - you have to care.
You have to give the best care you can.
But there's a difference between being caring and kind, and caring so much your heart is torn out every time one dies.