My mother was in the ER almost two years. She left as head nurse, in part because she could totally kick ass (I have this from an impartial observer, my dad), in part because the other nurses burned out. She talked about it the way war veterans talk about being on the front lines — not at all. As kids we learned what would freak her out, only her version of freaking out was going completely robotic and no-nonsense and “let’s fix this.”

Gutbloom is right, Ellie; you need to approach this less as a job and more as daily trips to the front lines. Keep writing [he said selfishly] but be open to getting more outside help than folks who work the 7–11. Please take care of yourself.

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Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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