Tuesday, April 8, 2008


As I had mentioned in a previous post, "THE SEASON" seems to be slowly coming to a close. Less traffic in the ER, down to a trickle in wee hours. We're seeing the usual regulars, but even they are frequenting our little establishment less and less. We're getting time to eat without being rushed, and even get to have some downtime. One or two patients per RN is now the norm after midnight. We come in at 7PM, clean up the leftovers from day shift, then.........cruise control.

I have to admit we have a pretty good team at night. We jump on things, whether it's a chest pain, a syncope, or a cardiac arrest, and work it within minutes. Everything done, everything documented, patient to CT, orders in......now sit and wait for results. And this works not only in the ER, but in other departments too.

Last Saturday, I picked up a shift in the ICU......just to keep my skills in check. Had one patient on a vent, paralyzed, tubes and drips everywhere.......my idea of HEAVEN! (NO, really!) There was a patient going bad on the floor, and was eventually going to be transferred over to us. I volunteered to take the patient, and was heading over to the Med-Surg floor to take a peek at what was up. But before I could even get to the door, THUMP!!! THUMP!!!THUMP!!! Someone knocking on the door like their life depended on it. It was the nursing supervisor, the MS charge nurse and the MS patient.......blue, not breathing, being rushed over in his bed. We got him to the room, transferred him into our bed, where he was promptly intubated by the respiratory team. Airway done.....now goes into bradycardia, then PEA......call the CODE TEAM! Up come my coworkers from the ER with our ED physician, and the fun begins! A lot of meds and a couple of defibrillations later, my patient is alive, pink and vented for the night!

Really, I thought this guy wasn't going to make it. He was BLUE.......really cyanotic, and had a pH of 6.8 to boot. Incompatible with life. I didn't give him a snowball's chance in Key West. But hey, if it's not your time to go, it's NOT YOUR TIME TO GO! But I owe a debt of appreciation to my downstairs crew for coming up and helping me get a leg up in a situation that could have become ugly at any given moment. TEAMWORK is the name of the game here.

Two days later, the patient is still intubated, but alive and awake and following commands. I feel good. I feel back in the game again. I smiled as I left that morning. I was tired, but it still felt GOOD!

We managed to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. And we didn't need to prescribe Skittles that night.

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