Stories from the ER – The sound of a zipper


Health clinic in Fort Ware

fortware2Zipppp.  A nurses least favourite sound, well mine at least.  The closing of a body bag before sending a patient to the morgue.  A poor outcome of a cardiac arrest led to horrific screams and tears from a young family in the trauma room the other day.  I don’t think that will ever get easier to witness – as I held back tears, offering a gentle touch, my heart ached for them.  I actually hope this will never get any easier to witness – it’s a beautiful and precious reminder that life can change in an instant.  A reminder that I oddly feel grateful to witness every day that I show up to work.

Being an Emergency Nurse is tough.  We see our fair share of pain on a daily basis.  So much so, that in order to do our job effectively we have to learn to leave it all behind.  We have to become tough, build up a backbone – to be caring and empathetic, but then be able to walk away.  As soon as we step foot outside, it’s just a regular day.  No death, yelling, tears or pain.  It’s all been left behind.fortware5


Trauma bay in Fort Ware

I don’t want to become numb to the pain I see.  Over the years of working in Emergency medicine, a part of me has hardened.  It’s a survival mechanism I’m sure – but I don’t ever want the sound of the zipper to be an easy thing – because it shouldn’t.  I want it to remain a beautiful reminder of just how precious life really is.

I smiled this evening when I zipped up my jacket before stepping out into the rain.  I get to enjoy my life NOW.  So I might as well make the most of it while I can.

Life is precious.  Enjoy it while you get the chance.

Smile with your heart


fortware7(Pictures are from Fort Ware in Northern BC, where I worked a Remote contract this past January)

Categories: Nursing


  1. Always the hardest part of the job losing someone. I still remember the first cardiac arrest I worked almost 10 years ago and I still take blame for the poor outcome even though nothing could have been done. It’s the other calls and patients we have that reminds us as to why we love our job.

  2. Love that you’ve been blogging lately!! Absolutely love reading your posts. They inspire and remind me to live life to the fullest and keep a positive spin on everything. So, Thank You!

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