I did an extra 4 hours at the end of my 8 hour shift tonight. I came home alone, meandering on city streets on foot. I was crying a little, my heart just hurt so much. Nothing "bad" happened at work. Nothing I could say, "here is why I am crying." But sometimes I think just days and days of listening and carrying the collective suffering of a group of people can just... get to a person.
But here is a picture in my head that made me smile: At about 10pm I went into "Jeanette's" room. Jeanette is a Haitian- Creole lady who is elderly, on the heavier side and blind; she has some mental health issues and is homeless. Although the turnover rate of most of my patients is anywhere from 2 days to three months, Jeanette has lived at this respite facility for over a year because she is undocumented and has no where else to go yet. As a result, we are very close.
I went in to see if she would take her evening medications, and I saw her siting on her bed, far enough back that her feet did not reach the floor and she was wiggling them. She was laughing at a joke her roommate (also Haitian) had just told her, and there was corn EVERYWHERE. Corn on her, corn on the bed, an almost empty cob of corn on the floor surrounded by corn. And she was cracking up. And I cracked up. And she called me by name when she heard my laugh and I asked her in french why there was corn everywhere and very VERY sweetly she said in perfect english "I don't know, Michelle."
Which made us both laugh even harder. I cleaned up all the corn, brought her to the bathroom, changed her sheets and helped her back to bed.
Then I cried on the train going home. I don't know. I haven't figured me out.