I love my job. This has probably been surmised by the five readers of this space. I enjoy interacting with my patients, and I get a real feeling of self-realization when I help them find their way out of ruts they've lived in their entire lives. My co-workers are amusing and helpful.
That said, there's a good reason there are always plenty of openings. My job is dangerous, and if nothing else is routinely disgusting. The disgusting bits don't bother me so much; nothing hand sanitizer and soap and water won't take care of.
But today I had a run-in with the more dangerous parts of my job:
I walked into a bad situation at work today, and as one of only two male staff on the scene, was on the front lines when it turned violent. In addition to the scratch on my face, I suffered some form of knee injury. I can support my weight on the bad knee, but I can't lift myself. Standing on one foot is easy; climbing the stairs to my apartment proved Herculean.
(The Ice Pack. The LPN wrote "Andy From my 1st boo boo. 2/3/07") The worst part of the whole thing, though, was the way the other patients looked at me. Part of it was out of concern, because I'm a well-liked staff member and almost always the "good cop", but there was another aspect to it, a fear that the staff would not be able to protect them. That uneasiness was difficult. A new admit, an autistic patient who has bonded with me, was extremely upset about it, and wanted to know exactly who hurt me, and how I started bleeding. I'm not convinced he's letting it go, and that worries me for him, my coworkers, and the patient that attacked us. Two other staff were involved; one received a minor nick on her finger, and the other got rug burns on his knee. (Have fun explaining that one to the girlfriend, Jerry.)
And now I have a choice. I have sick time. If my knee is not in serviceable condition tomorrow, I can call in. Except that it's Super Bowl Sunday, and the Colts are playing, and the hospital is going to be dangerously short-staffed anyway. If I call in, Jerry will be the only male attendant on our ward, and it's hard telling what the fallout from this will be. On the other hand, I will not be any help, and part of me feels that if I'm around the patient that became aggressive tomorrow, the situation will be worse. He told a female staff that he's very upset about what happened to me, but he will not be able to tell me that because the whole thing was just him acting out to show us how tough he is, and being sorry for the person he hurt, even if he didn't want to hurt him, will undermine his stance. That disjoint might cause him to act out more.
So I'm a little conflicted. Dad recommends that I call in. No one on the unit expects me to be there tomorrow. But I will feel bad if I leave them high and dry. The guilt; the guilt.