Here and there a life is saved, a soul is comforted, a child is born.
Until the door shuts behind me, the shift isn't over and the processing doesn't begin. Most days there is nothing to trouble my thoughts, the patients merging one into the next, each occupying my mind for the duration of our stay with them, or theirs with us. Some leave an impression, a smile, perhaps, maybe a frown. At other times a question mark looms over the lasting imprint of their faces, the tale of their woes, the miracle of their survival.
Some days, shutting the door behind me, ending the shift with a turn of the key, only signals the start of the process.
I go in to check on each of my already sleeping children, a habit often repeated several times each night since each was born, thankful that I am able just to stand, and stare, and watch them sleep in peace. I lock the front door, but in so doing, open the door to my own thoughts, trying to process the day.
That door needs locking too, but all too often I can't find the keys.