Time with your loved ones is always precious, because all too often your time is spend caring for your patients instead. Even then, it can be taken from you at a moment’s notice – when an emergency arises in the hospital, and you have little choice but to prioritise the patient in need of your medical assistance. Your loved ones might understand if you have to call off the dinner once or twice. However, as time passes and you have to make the same apology over and over again, everyone involved will be negatively affected as you miss out on special occasions and significant moments in their lives. What can be done to ensure this does not end in tragedy?
Reassure them that they are important
Nothing beats spending time with them right there, right now. However, when the circumstances are simply impossible, reassure them that you care through all possible means. While your loved ones may understand the situation, they might still feel less important to you, as though you are prioritising your work over them.
As such, the moment you have dealt with the emergency at the hospital, call your loved ones and make sure they know they have never left your mind. You can even opt for a video call and speak to them ‘face-to-face’ through the screen, making full use of technology to shorten the metaphorical distance. Get them a tiny gift on the way home, perhaps their favourite pastry or ice-cream and they will know that no matter what, they are always at the forefront of your mind.
Making up to them after the emergency
The words that you say right before rushing off to an emergency can have a significant impact on them as well. No matter how desperate the emergency, do not merely mumble an apology and leave. Take a bit of time to properly express your regret at having to leave. That someone out there depends on you to save their life, and promise that you will make up to them. Say “I will see you as soon as I get back”, not just a simple “goodbye”. Once the emergency has been dealt with, be sure to go through with your promise - and the sooner, the better lest they think that you are only making empty promises. Take them out for a meal, or go shopping with them. The next time you run off for an emergency, your loved ones will be more understanding – knowing that you will always make up for the lost time on another day.
It is difficult to face your loved ones when you have to leave for an emergency and ruin the moment with them. However, your loved ones will not be disappointed in your or your work – saving someone’s life is one of most noble professions in this world. What they are disappointed about is the time they missed out on with you. Perhaps you can consider adjusting your expectations, and plan small instead of big when you know you could be called back at any time.
You cannot recover lost time, but you can make the most out of whatever time you have – and as a healthcare professional who constantly fights for time to save someone’s life, make sure you don't neglect the happiness of those around you either.
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