The state of health of the patients is critical. The family experiences heartbreaking sensations and professionals must take decisions extremely complex under pressure of time and difficulty. Anguish, pain, uncertainty, the voltage is present at the corridors of the ICU and are current for all the actors.
However, the touching surprise of an improvement unexpected, the joy of return to communicate with a person that not was lucid during days and the hope of starting a project of life that seemed lost also are present. Time doesn´t escape to this avalanche of feelings and acquires another rhythm: sometimes runs very fast, others, too slow, or even, in certain circumstances, seems to be arrested.
As professional, what can we do to channel this whirlwind of emotions and experiences?. What tools do we have for cushioning or even, to transform it in something valuable and significant?
The formula is much simple than we can imagine. We have just to appeal to the more powerful and economical resource of all human beings have: the word. The words allow baste mentally the sensations, weaving networks, explain us what happens, insert it in our history and in this way, to capitalize on the impact that generate. We onlyl must make us the question: "who am I?" to notice that we all "are made of stories", as says the great writer Eduardo Galeano. The stories allow to give meaning to our experiences. Human beings need "as the air we breathe" what happens to us makes sense to preserve a relative psychic balance.
To facilitate these stories arise and deploy, the ICU professionals have another also invaluable resource: listening. Approaching, looking to the eyes, letting talk without judging or rejecting feelings of whom is expressing. Giving signals that we are paying attention by gestures as nodding, occasionally summarizing what he says or showing that one understands what they are feeling. The amount of time that can devote to this task is much less important that the quality that we can give people, to consider the effect that has on who speaks and on ourselves to be listening to.
If all the protagonists of the ICU take some minutes to talk and listen what happens to us, the intense experiences we live daily can process subjectively. And in doing so, suffering reduces and the avalanche of unconnected events become episodes that may make sense in the unique history of working in an ICU. It is not about extraordinary resources or have much time. The only thing we need is to be aware of returning what differentiates us as humans: language and communication. They are the privileged via for the betting of work in one of the places more intense of the Hospital can renew day to day.
Psychologist at Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires