I’m usually very upbeat about the cool things I get to learn on my rotations. I get to see the vital role that pharmacists can play on a health care team and see the good that we can do. This rotation was not different from that. In a pediatric ICU, the pharmacist’s role was incredibly important and had to be immediate. The only difference on this rotation is the cases that I saw. Clearly, only very sick children go to a PICU. 95% of the time, they improved and went on their way. It is the remaining 5% that shook me the last 5 weeks.
Before starting the rotation, I was prefaced that a lot of our patients would be those with congenital heart disease (born with their medical conditions) or, sadly, child abuse cases. I was ready to stomach those problems. While my rotation did give me a fair share of children with various medical conditions, I did not see that many child abuse cases. That’s supposed to be good right? Unfortunately, that gap was filled with adolescents and teens who came in after suicide attempts. I will not go into any detail because I do not want to foster any ideas nor do I want to invade the privacy of these individuals.
What saddens me so much is that they were so young, and they thought the only way to get out of whatever bad situation they were in was the harm themselves. I was an angry and angsty preteen and teen myself. I was obnoxious and I thought the world was going to end when my “friend” told my boyfriend at the time to break up with me because she wanted to date him. Problems in high school seem so insignificant now. But how can you tell someone who is suffering that their problem is not important? Sure in retrospect they will have more trials and tribulations that are far worse, but that would only make them feel worse. Looking back, my problems just seemed so silly but at the time it was monumental.
So what if your world really is ending? What if you truly believe that your life will never get better. I have news for you. It will. There is a bright future for everyone and sadly, some of these kids will never see it. A lot of kids who intend on harming themselves are under the impression that no one cares about them; that they will not be missed. For everyone who believes this, YOU ARE SO WRONG. I saw the family members who poured in and out of patient rooms, crying because they thought they failed you. I saw the friends who sat by your bedside holding your hand, praying that you would come through. And the doctors, who see these kinds of situation more often than they would like, are still deeply affected and are trying their best to help.
My message is that nothing is worth harming yourself. Plenty of people will be there to help you if you just ask. xoxo