Sorry my blogging has been few and far between this past month. With 12 hour shifts in the ICU, I barely had time to shower 😉
My working out took a back seat BIG time. I seriously can’t wait to get in the gym and SWEAT today!
So what did I learn while in the ICU? Well, tons of stuff really. I learned lots of medicine and now feel more comfortable with complicated physiology. I learned how to put in orders, what kinds of tests are needed for certain patients, how to call a consult, and basically how to do everything I already thought I knew how to do, just better.
I really did love it. I loved watching patients who were incredibly sick get better. That’s a wonderfully rewarding experience. I loved having to think through complex medical issues. And I loved wearing scrubs everyday- it’s basically the same as wearing pajamas all the time!
One thing I hated was codes. A code is called in a hospital when a patient is unresponsive and either isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse. When a code is called, an overhead speaker announces it to the entire hospital and all the ICU staff take off sprinting to wherever the patient may be. One of the older residents or attending physicians will run the code- calling out which medications need to be administered and what should happen next. The medical students and interns line up to do chest compressions.
The whole experience is so violent to me. I sometimes find myself wishing we could just let the patient die in peace instead of with broken ribs and chaos surrounding them.
I do acknowledge that there are many times a code is appropriate- say the patient is young, only has one or two medical problems, and has a high probability of living. I mean, if I dropped to the floor right now, I would want everyone pounding on my chest!!
But when I think about my grandparents or my loved ones who are frail, have multiple medical conditions, and might not make it out of a code, I almost would rather spare them the trauma and let them pass away… I don’t know. It’s such a hard thing to talk about. You certainly don’t want to give up on anyone, but after seeing someone not make it through a code, it’s hard not to wonder why we just did all that. Why we put them through such trauma. Why their loved ones couldn’t be there holding their hand. 🙁 I’m still trying to find more exact numbers, but lots of studies show terrible rates of survival from CPR. Most of the papers I’ve read say that only 5-20% of patients who had cardio-pulmonary arrest in the hospital and were resuscitated survived long enough to go home. Close to 50% of patients who survive the code live for only 2-14 more days in the hospital- often times undergoing painful tests, or kept alive on ventilators and such.
After 30 minutes of chest compressions, the survival rate decreases to almost zero. During the last code I participated in, we did chest compressions for over an hour. It was terrible. Have any of you ever done CPR? What do you think of it?
Ok, enough sadness…
Besides a lot of running around for patients, I did a lot of sitting around and studying.
There were lots of boring afternoons when I just wanted to go home.
I did get to leave early one day because I presented a poster at a convention downtown. So that was fun!!
But most days looked like this:
I think this post wins for most selfies ever!
Last night I concluded my ICU rotation with a beer and ice-cream. Today I am back to my normal healthy self I promise 🙂
I miss you guys!!! What have you been up to???
Have you been in an ICU before? Have you done CPR before?