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Holiday bliss! December 24, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Ah, the holidays! I’m sure this gingerbread woman is having a blast! Look at her laying down in a basket full of goodies! It seems like a child’s dream… to be surrounded by all the nice things in life.

Speaking of nice things, my day couldn’t be any better. I’m scheduled to work today as part of the holiday scheduling arrangement. You see, I requested for the New Year’s off, in return, I had to work Christmas eve and Christmas day. While my whole family was preparing for the Christmas at our house, I was preparing to go to work. 😦 Just when I was going to hit the shower the phone rings… “Hi, this is Nella, I’m calling you to let you know you’ve been cancelled. Have a Merry Christmas!”. What a Merry Christmas indeed. I tell my wife the “good news”… “Honey, I’m staying home!”

For the first time after 3 years I get to stay home this Christmas eve. I guess the census hasn’t picked up that they needed to cancel people today. I hope they didn’t make a rush decision, you know, most trauma codes come after 2400! I’m sure they have enough staff to handle this in case it happens. As for me and my family, we’ll be having a Merry Christmas tonight. A year ago I was working, tonight, we celebrate!

Amid all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I hope we don’t forget to stop and think about the true reason for the season… a Baby born in a manger 2000 years ago, Who gave the greatest gift man has ever received. He paid the ultimate price on the cross to set us free from sin, disease, destruction, and all the bad stuff we see everyday. One day He will come to take us home, to heaven where we belong. I can’t wait to see my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Till then, lets enjoy our time here on earth, with those who matter most.

To all of you my friends, a “Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!” from my family to yours!

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Creepy and freaky December 11, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Have you ever seen anything like this?… And I thought that Halloween was over!

As I came in the patient’s room, this creepy sight caught my attention. Towards the end of the shift, my CNA apparently was cleaning up (as they usually do) and threw her blue gown into the trash bin. Unfortunately, she didn’t do a complete job and left me with this scene out of a horror movie. It’s not everyday you see something like this so I took a snapshot with my trusty iPhone. I’d love to save this for the next shift… but, we had to do what we had to do. Let the poor “disembodied” arm go with the rest of itself. 🙂  I’m just glad that it wasn’t one of them syringes with the needle sticking out of the sharps bin which unfortunately, sometimes do happen especially when labs get done.

On the same note, I couldn’t help myself and took a shot of this freak of medical technology. Can you seen anything wrong with this picture?

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Yep, from here it looks like an innocent Y-tubing… something you’d use for a blood transfusion. But if you look at it closely, one of the tubes have an extra “appendage”. Look closely…

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Did you see it? It’s like a chicken with a third leg. I guess this extra roller clamp slipped out of quality control and made it through packaging and distribution. 🙂 Like I said before, it’s not everyday you get to see something like this.

You’re probably thinking… “he’s got too much time on his hands”. Not at work I don’t. But sometimes I’d like to make some time… you know… to stop and smell the roses once in a while. After all we deal with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the stuff that stinks (both metaphorically and literally), everyday at our line of work, and quite frankly, even if I don’t smell the roses… I’d like to imagine them anyway. How about you?

His final moments… December 6, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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My patient is really sick… he could go anytime soon.

When I took report he was already in bad shape, although still alert and oriented, he is intubated and on the vent. I do my best to relax him and allay his fears. I couldn’t imagine what he might be going through… laying there, intubated, and on pressors, knowing that you might not make it through the night is just frightening. “It’s OK sir” I said, as the IV pump alarm goes off signaling the end of another bag of Neo-synephrine. I can see that every time an alarm went off, his heart rate would go up even more. “It’s OK, just relax, it’s only the IV pump.”

A few hours pass and I can tell that he won’t make it. This is the first time I’m taking care of someone who may actually die on my shift. “How ironic”, I through to myself. Yesterday I was just thinking, “I’ve never had anybody die on me before.” Today might be the day. My colleague, a veteran ICU nurse of 18 years says he won’t make it. My patient was going into septic shock with multi-organ failure… no urine output, on pressors, BP hardly holding, etc. He’s still awake… it’s just a matter of time now.

As I took my break I can’t help but wonder how he was like when he was still in good health. According to the history, he drank heavily which explains the liver cirrhosis. He put the bottle down a year ago, however, the damage have already been done. Unfortunately he is reaping the fruits of his longtime drinking habit. The harvest is not a good one. After my break I noted that his heart rate was going down with increased irregularity. He stares blankly at the ceiling, barely responding to me now. I call his family to come in, “he’s deteriorating and he may go soon.” I told them.

When they arrive I can see the despair in their eyes. There’s nothing much they can do now but look on helplessly. I wonder if any of them warned him on the dangers of drinking while he was yet healthy. I’m sure they did. He probably told them “yes, I’ll quit… but not today.” It’s sad to see a life ending like this… he seems to be a kind, gentle man. Then it happened…

The monitors go off for the last time. I check lead placements and confirmed that he was in asystole. No pulse, no blood pressure, monitor shows a flat line, although still “breathing” from the vent, he’s gone. “Is that it?”, asks his sister who held his hand the whole time. “I’m afraid so.” They had just came in from out of town earlier that afternoon, and after a conference with the physician placed him on DNR status. I call the doctor in… time of death 0245. After a few minutes, the family leaves. Postmortem care is underway. I started out with one patient and ended with none. I guess I’m going home early today.

As I drive home I couldn’t help but wonder about how it would be living your final moments. What thought would be going through your mind, what you would have done different in your life. I think about my family, my children, and the life I lived. Ten years ago I wouldn’t be thinking of these things. I realize that as we grow older, our thoughts change. All of a sudden life is just but a fleeting moment. Unfortunately we are all too consumed pursuing the trivial things in life… career, money, prestige. I guess it comes down to this… when you go, what what impact has your life had to those around you? Have you ever thought about your final moments?