Sunday, October 24, 2010


I lost a patient today. It's the first time at this hospital. I mean, yeah, I've had patients die here before, but they've been hospice beds. Today, I lost a full code. Actually, I'll be honest. I lost one of both today.

There's nothing like walking into a room and finding your friend unresponsive. He'd had trouble breathing on and off all day. I kept trying to get the doc to order different things. He wasn't interested. I bypassed him and got help from other people. Everything helped temporarily. I watched him so closely all day.

His CK was high from the labs we drew during the code. Maybe he had a heart attack. Maybe it wasn't respiratory. I can't say.

It's a hard lesson, and I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to learn. Should I have called a rapid response earlier and convinced the resident to take him to the ICU? Would that have saved his life? How much of it was out of my hands? How much?

The Solomon of nurses told me I practically ran the code today. It's not true, but looking back, I bet nobody would've guessed it was my first code. They always told me during mock codes that I wouldn't have to worry about pushing meds. Someone with know-how would be pushing. Except in the PICU. In the PICU, they told me to slam everything. So that's what I did. Epi in. Atropine in. Bicarb in...atropine...atropine. "How many atropines?" "We can only give three." And then, "After this bicarb, I'm calling it unless anyone has anything else." And that's when I swore, and somebody thought I stuck myself. It felt like ten minutes, but it was 45.

The guy asked me if it was my first time at the morgue. I told him it was my second time that day, but he wasn't listening. He wasn't asking for an answer. He was asking to fill his own ears.

Another one down to AML today.

1 comment:

KR said...

I'm Katherine and I've been following your blog (quietly :) for ages now. I used to work in a hospital, I was an orderly for the emergency department and the connected assessment ward. Sometimes it was my job to prepare people for viewings when they had passed away and on the weekends often we had to do the same with police cases (small New Zealand hospitals!). One day there was a young guy just a few years older than me that had been found after a few days in the bush in the heat of summer. It was the worst thing I've ever been a part of in my life. I still think about it now and it was more than a year ago. I can still see him there.

Anyway I want to tell you that during the time since, your blog brought me comfort. People all over the world are doing their jobs and sometimes go home affected by it, just like I was.

I had nightmares for months and I still think about him and pray for his family but what was a horror has now come to feel like an honour. I was privileged to be able to prepare him for his family’s goodbyes and I made their terrible day a little bit better by hiding things they didn't need to see. Every now and then you bring up this day again in your blog and I feel comforted that I am not alone, I had a terrible day and it has changed me but it doesn’t mean I am weak to not be able to shrug it off.
I hope all this makes sense to you and it’s not too intense – I don’t often talk about my time working at the hospital and definitely not that day – but I am just trying to say thanks for being honest. I am encouraged reading back over your blog. Won’t it be EXCITING when we get to Heaven one day and see some of these people we were in contact with!!! Ohh I can’t wait till I see His face shining with glory! !

Bless you so very, very much.