The ER diaries: dark humor gets us through – we save our tears for home

In the third installment of The ER Diaries, a nurse reflects on those who meet sad realities head-on with humor

I’m greeted today by a nurse sarcastically chanting, “welcome to work” as I walk in. I nervously laugh while passing her and wonder what I’m in for today. It makes me reflect on how I’ve been dealing with this mayhem: dark humor.

The emergency department attracts a certain personality type. Whether a physician, nurse or tech, we all have the ability to laugh when most would cry. How else could we come back to work after doing CPR on a two-year-old or having comforted a family who lost their 90-year-old grandfather? We don’t disrespect the deceased, we just cope with the reality of life with humor. We save our sadness and tears for home.

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