Wednesday, August 10, 2011

9 days off, 2 nights on

I’ve been off for 9 days.

I’m working the next 2 nights.

It’s nice to have a break sometimes, to get away from the drama that is the ICU. The last shift I worked my patient started crashing. They had been “fine” most of the night and then they weren’t “fine”. I almost lost them.

It’s amazing sometimes how quickly things can change. How swift things can go from okay to bad to worse. When things go worse it usually takes days to recover and that waiting time is difficult, almost unbearable for families because there’s no guarantee that it will go from worse to better.

I had a friend with me that day. A friend that is about to enter her senior year in high school. She flew in from Nashville, TN to spend some time with me. I invited her to spend a weekend learning about the hospital, the ICU, critical care, nursing duties, my responsibilities, and to essentially let her shadow my life.

It was interesting to evaluate my life through someone else’s eyes, to think about things in a completely new way. It’s hard to remember what it’s like not to know something. It’s hard to know what it was like when I was learning things for the first time. I worried all weekend that she would be bored, that she wouldn’t learn anything, that she would feel like it had been a waste of her time. But I was trying to look at her experience through my eyes, it was her eyes I should have been looking through.

She watched when the patient started crashing, when we intubated, placed the central line, the arterial line, and simply worked as a team to emergently save the patient. I’ve seen this situation numerous times; it’s what I do. She had never seen that situation before.

I don’t have her eyes. I don’t know exactly what she saw and how that situation impacted her. But I believe that event had the potential to be a life altering moment in her life. It had the potential to shape her view of health care, critical care, team work, and emergent situations.

I’ve been off for 9 days.

I’m working the next 2 nights. Hopefully, with different eyes.

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