After a pretty intense month in the ICU, one's perspective on life and priority decisions shifts. Anyone who as spent any amount of time around death knows that something changes in a human being after you have stared down this beast. It morphs from this far off almost imagery place to a very real and very close demon with blood dripping from its claws and its cold, damp breath sending a chill down your spine. Your body wants nothing more than to run from it, but you demand more of yourself. In lieu of performing instinctive behavior, you go toe-to-toe with a monster who takes the very life out of its victims.
For quite some number of years now, I have been in positions where the decisions I made had very real and very ultimate consequences. A month in the ICU only reaffirms the importance of preparedness, of calm in the face of panic, and of team work. There is also this realization of perspective. For some people, as was the case of the gentleman behind me at the coffee shop earlier today, a 'rough day' means they had to spend a whole hour taking care of a cell phone problem that really wasn't a major problem to begin with. To the team in the ICU, a baseline 'rough' day means death and then talking to the family. I learned an important lesson about perspective. Just because I am privileged in what I do for a living, i.e. taking care of sick people and dealing with really deep issues/problems, does not give me the right to stomp on someone else who's problem is of questionable less severity. Quite simply, one must be charitable in character. In other words, something that isn't a big deal to you may be a very big deal to someone else. This is a very hard lesson for me, and at times I must revisit it.