Friday, October 28, 2011

Flying High

The man sitting beside me has good veins. It's funny, the things you notice when you choose to.

I'm on a plane today. Flying cross country; partly for business, partly for pleasure, completely for me.

I worked yesterday. I worked during the day. It was good, really good. I haven't enjoyed a day at work like that in a really really long time. I talked with lots of families: reassured, educated, laughed, hugged, joked, encouraged. I felt like me. I intubated this young patient; I'm really getting good at that.

I wish everyday were like yesterday. It was what I had hoped and dreamed it would be.

Lately, it has mostly been not what I had hoped and dreamed. It has been rough, exhausting, and at times disappointing. I realized the other day that I love what I do, but I hate my job. How does that even make sense?

A lot of it is the hours, okay most of it. I know that will eventually change. Things happened this year that cut our staffing in half and now there are two of us attempting 24/7 coverage. It's not working out too well. Eventually, there will be five of us again. I won't be switching back and forth between nights and days. I might even feel "normal" again.

I suppose that's the fear though, that I'll never feel normal again. That I'll always be tired. That my life will never know stability and consistency again. That I won't ever have a schedule that makes sense and is conducive with the rest of the living world. I miss sleeping at night and waking up early to meet the day. I miss having routine. I miss going to church.

The woman behind me is coughing. I'm wondering why. Does she have a cold, a virus? Is it just the change in weather? Is she covering her mouth? Or is she spraying millions of bacteria molecules into the air?

I need more sleep. I need more days that dreams were made of.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Sometimes, even when you do your best, you just don’t do the best job.

Tonight is night 5 in 6 days. I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept very well the last few days. The pt’s have been really really sick. I’ve had a lot on my mind and I’m just not quite “on”.

I needed to call a service for a pt consult. It’s late. I’m waiting and waiting. The doc finally calls in and I give him report. I can honestly say that it was one of the worst pt reports I have ever given. Here is this doctor at home, responding to a phone call in the middle of the night, and I’m the one he gets to talk to. I don’t start at the beginning, he’s confused, I start over, I’m embarrassed and in the end he says he’ll just see the patient in the morning.

Sometimes I just need to let things go. It wasn’t my best. It’s okay.

I’m still watching the pt. They’re okay. It really is fine.

I suppose even now, revisiting the whole situation I realize how silly it is. Is it even worthy of a blog post; talking about my best not being my best.

Stress haunts us in many ways: worry, anxiety, embarrassment, fear, the desire for perfection.

Let it go.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


We’ve had some really sick people the last few weeks.

The ebb and flow of an ICU is a funny thing. Weeks vary so differently and yet they don’t. Sometimes a patient’s fate seems so grim and they pull through, other times they don’t seem that sick and then they die. The truth is you just never know what the outcome will be.

Sometimes working in healthcare is an incredibly satisfying field. I so deeply appreicate those days, those patients. And then sometimes it’s not. Those days are hard.

I’ve wondered a lot about my role lately, the vitality of it. Wondering if what I do really matters. There is an attending doctor above me and a nurse below me. The doctor ultimately rules and the nurse fulfills the rule. I’m in the middle of all that. I’m what’s known as a “midlevel” provider. I wonder sometimes what that really means.

I enjoy doing procedures; putting in central lines and arterial lines and intubating and even a spinal tap most recently. I appreciate the power of physically manipulating the body and seeing a definitive result; especially when it’s a positive one.

I wonder what my future holds. I wonder what plans God has for me. Where I’ll go, what I”ll do, where I’ll be.

I hate working nights. I hate the life it steals from me. I hate the way extreme exhaustion makes me feel. I hate sleeping during the day when the rest of the world is awake and alive and living. I hate the landscape company employed by my apartment complex.

I love off days when Ruthie and I can go to the park. I love to watch her. She runs so fast and loves it when the big dogs chase her. She likes to play this funny game. It makes me smile. She brings such joy to me.

It’s funny, the things that affect us, the things that mold and shape our daily lives and work in forming who we are. It’s funny how we change from year to year. I am not the same person I was a few years ago and yet I am.

Sometimes life forces us to acknowledge things we couldn’t see before, wouldn’t see before. Sometimes we find ourselves wide awake.

I had the death talk with 3 families this week, all on the same day. The next day all 3 patients died. I took Ruthie to the park. I love to watch her play.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The last one.

It’s funny how you just know when it’s the last one.

You take and you take and you take and then you’re forced to take one more and it turns out to just be one too many.

Sometimes it’s the weight of the matter.

Sometimes it’s the point of the matter.

Sometimes it’s the principle of the matter.

And sometimes you just get to the point where it really doesn’t matter.

I’m not sure which category I fall into; maybe all of them, maybe none. It doesn’t really matter though which one it is.

It’s hard. You work and you work and you work and you want so much to be successful and loyal and to grow something and to get to that place where you can look back at what you’ve done and be proud and feel accomplished. But sometimes you don’t get to that place, sometimes that journey wasn’t meant to be taken, sometimes even loyalty costs too much.

I knew the next one would be the last one. I guess I just kept hoping it wouldn’t fall.