Sunday, August 06, 2006

What I learned at work last night

  • The one time you don't walk-super-fast (because you NEVER run in a hospital) to an emergency light, it will really actually be a code and not just an "Oops, did I bump that switch on the wall?"
  • In a code situation, just pick something, and just do it. That way it's harder to freak out. Like, grab the ambu-bag off the wall, open the box, put it together, plug the tubing onto the oxygen, turn up the oxygen, place the mask on the patient's face, chin-lift-jaw-thrust, hold the mask in place super tight and squeeze that bag. Doesn't seem too complicated but it becomes complicated when people are yelling, "Get the doctor! Where's the doctor? I called him! Where's the CPR board? Where did his son go? Normal saline wide open now!" among many other things I probably didn't hear.
  • When you're doing something, just do it, don't worry too much about doing it right. Remember, the patient is already dead. I felt a twinge of, "Aw, sorry..." as I yanked his head back and pushed my fingers under his jaw to pull it forward till my tiny rationale mind realized that when someone is doing compressions on your chest while someone else digs a needle around in your groin looking for a femoral vein, the guy had bigger problems than if I maybe bruised his chin.
  • When you need something, don't just ask. It won't get done. So find someone, make eye contact, and say, "Betty Boop! [insert name here] I need a liter of saline!"
  • You have to take care of each other first and foremost. When the nurse whose patient it was looks gray and shaky, don't ask her if she's okay. Just lead her to a quiet room, put a warm blanket around her shoulders, hand her a glass of water. Then let her talk, or not talk, but just sit near her. She'll be in shock, and freaked out, and questioning everything she did and didn't do. So let her say those things, but keep reminding her that she did everything she could have done, she did her best like she does every night at work, and she's going to be okay.
  • In real life, there is no Foreshadowing Music of Doom. Otherwise, we would have heard it during the our conversation about the above-referenced pt's quality of life, probably life expentancy, and the nurse's comment that hopefully he should die sooner rather than later, or his suffering will simply be needlessly prolonged...cue code light. See previously mentioned chain of events.

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