Now that is has been a couple days since I said goodbye to PCH I figured it was time to express just what it all means to me. I spent three years at PCH. As I look back on the last three years it is hard to believe that I survived it all. When I started at PCH I was terrified. I had some serious doubts in myself and how I was going to walk into the building where Mckenna died every shift, how I was going to be around sick children, broken children, children who are alone, children who are abused, and children Mckenna’s age. I just didn't know how I was going to handle it all and I would be lying if I said it wasn't challenging. It was one of the hardest, most challenging things I have ever done.
In the beginning I really struggled to work there. I would cry every shift, have flashbacks, I would be distant, closed off, shut down, just to survive the shift, my life, everything. I wanted to quit many times, I would look for jobs and even put in applications but I would never follow through with quitting. I guess it never felt “right”. I wanted it to feel like the right time and no matter how much I complained, something kept me there and I guess I am thankful for that voice that kept me there as long as it did.
After some point, though I can’t pin point when it was, I found a peacefulness working there. I no longer cried going to work, I wouldn’t dread each shift with every ounce of my body, I was more talkative with my coworkers, patients, patients families. At the time I thought this was great, I reached the place I never thought I could or would and it was a great accomplishment. And then my mom died. My mom’s death was devastating to me and I found myself going back to the days from when I first started. The flashbacks started again, I would cry to work every shift, and it would take over half the shift to recover.I recognized that it longer was serving a purpose for me and I was no longer growing and becoming, I was falling and going backwards. I don't use the word hate very often if at all, but I truly began to hate it. Working at PCH, working nights began to take its toll and I knew I needed to quit. It was no longer peaceful, it was torture so I set out on a couple missions which brought me to where I am today.
My last night was a great night with great people, great nurses, and lots of conversations, laughter and peace with my decision. It was time. I clocked out, said my goodbyes, walked through the old PICU where Mckenna died, down the hall one last time and out the doors feeling free. It was almost euphoric, I was happy, excited and in that moment I knew that I fulfilled my goal and I don’t regret ever working there and I don’t regret waiting to leave and I most definitely don’t regret quitting.
I lost a lot while working at PCH, but I also gained so much. Leaving PCH wasn’t a hard decision. I have seen things that are heartbreaking, sad, amazing, humbling, and unforgettable, but I no longer feel the need to be there and to put myself through what I have when I first started. I want to live life and for Mckenna to be proud of me for challenging myself yet knowing when it was no longer benefiting me. I lost a piece of me the day Mckenna died in that hospital and even though it did not bring her back, it did put together a small piece of my heart with a scar. I will never forget my time at PCH, I will never forget how it forced me to grow, I will never forget the last three years and what they brought me.
Peace out PCH….
|*The* Room Mckenna died in.|
(No patients were on the floor when I took this picture,
the unit was empty)