Sometimes I well up a bit whilst watching 24-hours in A&E, which I never do during my actual, real-life job in A&E. The settings and stories are all familiar, but here they’re framed from afar and from after: with montage and music and they survived?! surprises. The nose starts sniffling and the eyes start prickling and now: warm tears in front of the telly, now something’s happening between me and the screen that doesn’t happen between me and a patient.
An A&E consultant once told me that the emotion of a case could catch up to him later, unexpectedly. You’re casually recounting something in the kitchen – I don’t think it has to be the kitchen – and suddenly out of nowhere there’s a slight shake in your voice. Where did that come from?
This is all fine, of course. The day job (often, the night job) isn’t to emote in the moment, it’s to help. To be of use. But sometimes I wonder: Is it just the case that’s so affecting, or the recounting? The story or the telling?