sympathy vomit

The patient begins with heaving, his shoulders reaching for his ears, his body doubling over. His eyes become glassy, his skin pale and then the horrid retching. Not projectile but jerky and percolating through the large gaps in his teeth. I try to keep calm and place towels under his chin but i could not sync my movements with his retches and end up with his warm stomach contents all over my ungloved hands. And that’s when it began. My brain told my stomach it was being effected too. Excessive saliva quickly filled my mouth and I was helpless to my evolution. I could only hold up one finger to the patient to signal I would be right back. The second I turned my back to the patient, it happened. I threw up in my mouth. I had no choice. I had to swallow. I don’t know what was worse: having my own unnecessary vomit in my mouth or swallowing my own sympathy vomit? All of this happened within one minute. One minute! Patient was safe and aspiration free, but I was psychologically traumatized by my own body. I have created muscle memory for vomit. I now work in fear of the next puking patient.

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