Monday, September 18, 2006

Sink, Swim.

I met the student nurse again today. She was in the coffee room and looked really shattered. I sensed that she had been crying. When I asked her if she’s alright, she told me that the patient that we looked after the other day, passed away. I’m not surprised. He was already on a maximum dose of adrenaline yesterday, and required a lot of filling- you give them lots of IV fluids to maintain a decent circulating volume or at least a decent central venous pressure. I wasn’t sure what the diagnosis was but from what I can gather, he probably died from cardiogenic shock – basically what happens when the heart gets tired from pumping really hard to compensate for low blood supply as a result of acute ?MI, ?PE or pulmonary embolism that we talked about in great length yesterday. These are all purely conjecture, but this was the most probable cause of death that I can think of by just connecting all the dots and without actually looking at what the doctor wrote in the notes.

I felt sorry for the student, obviously her first time to witness a tragic scene in ICU. You do indeed feel a strong sense of empathy to the patient’s family when this happens. Not for us though, we have already developed tough emotional shields to deal with it. It is stressful, but at the end of the day, you got to do what you got to do. I wonder if this is a reason why ICU nurses are the most soulless and insensitive ‘unprintable’ colleagues that you could ever work with. I’m not gonna push for it, but it’s an interesting theory. She told me that she is going to finish her course after a year and will soon be a proper nurse but still feels ‘out of whack’ – her own words. She asked me how long I’ve been working in the unit blah-blah: Hinted interest to work here, so I felt obliged to give her some encouragement. You don’t really want to scare them, do you? So, I told her:

“Oh, it’s lovely to work here. People are really supportive.”

Basically, I didn't tell her what I've been through. If it isn't too over the top, I could have described a hippy commune where everyone group hugged after a task is done, and working here is like playing ball in a lovely white sandy beach where everything is warm and you work hand in hand as a team, when I thought: Yeah, right. They will throw you in the middle of the deepest ocean, and you either sink or swim, so I told her instead:

"People will help you and guide you every step of the way."

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3 Comments:

Blogger Momel said...

I never thought the heart can grow tired from pumping hard. Wow. The things you learn everyday. I'll link you up alright?

I like the stories eh.

:)

Cheers!

11:56 AM  
Blogger howling said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:26 AM  
Blogger howling said...

Hi Mel, glad you like the stories, I like yours to be honest, in fact, I've already added your url to my Technocrati Faves... With regards to the heart, uhhm... Technically speaking, a heart muscle doesn't get tired, but I suppose as an organ, unfortunately, it does. My statement above was a bit confusing and debatable- I was afraid it would open a flood gate of impassioned arguments, so I deleted it.

6:56 AM  

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