There really wasn't any excuse for what I'd done, I think that's what made getting caught that much worse. though if asked, I would have brushed it off to any number of other reasons. I was going through some hard times, drinking too much, barely sleeping, and not really thinking about the consequences to my actions when it happened.
I know, I'm stalling, maybe because now I realize how out of line my actions were. I'd been flirting with a patient's mother, it was harmless at first, no different then what I'd done countless times before except for the fact that we took things to a place they had no business going. I'd ordered labs on the woman's daughter, and while we were waiting for the results we left her alone so that we could act on the feelings the flirting had fueled.
Susan was the one to find us, after the fact but, with no doubt that something had happened. We'd used a supply closet and she was there as we were leaving it. I tried to throw her off by saying I was looking for some x-rays. X-rays? I don't even think I realized how ridiculous it sounded when I said it, I just knew I'd been caught having done something I never should have done.
I can't begin to describe the guilt I felt after the fact, not just with getting caught, not even at having acted unprofessionally with the girl's mother, but at having left the child alone. Compounding it all was that when I did receive the girl's lab results they contained bad news, news the woman then had to break first to her daughter and then by phone, to her husband. I don't know that I've ever felt as low as I did in those moments, but, I do know I never want to feel that way again.