Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Expecto Patronum

It sucks coming in to the shift after the Christmas weekend, with the ER jammed, and the overflowing lobby looking like the tiger cage at the circus, at feeding time, and the triage nurse feeling like a staked lamb. It's even worse when every time you get a critical patient out of the ER, you get rewarded with another sick patient, even before you get back from passing along the last admit.

It starts getting better when you get everyone out, either discharged home or admitted, and it's really turned the corner when all your beds are empty, and the lobby has been cleaned out too.

Even when it doesn't happen until 6 AM.

Now all you have to do is make that last hour, hoping that nothing will go sidewa

"TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...Medic Six...three minutes out...witnessed full arrest...CPR in progress...intubating..."

Leaving just enough time to clear the decks for action stations and grab the crash cart, because as the one with no patients, guess who's getting the run...?

And everyone shows up, just ahead of The Guy, the purpose of the exercise.
Including the uninvited party crasher.

I really hate that guy.

He tries his best, too. We get a pulse back, lose it, get it back, lose it, get it back, lose it.
The ET tube gets dislodged; the doc re-places it. We go through code drugs like Charlie Sheen at a cocaine lab. Everyone is on their game though. The guy comes in a deathly shade of purple, and we manage to turn him pink and warm with compressions and bagging. Lines go in like clockwork, IV, IO, central line, NG tube, foley cath. A pile of debris and detritus forms around the perimeter of the room, in inverse proportion to how our guy is doing. Apparently you need to fill a garbage bag to save a life, and we're doing our bit in spades on both counts.

Finally, the efforts start paying off, the pulse comes back for good, blood pressure and oxygen sats stabilize, and we start thinning out the garbage piles just ahead of the arrival of the family that last saw their husband/father/brother/uncle being loaded into an ambulance in the dark half an hour ago.

Sometimes, with some patients, the end is a welcome release from terminal pathology, but not this time.

And with an extra little push from timing, a short transport time, and rockstars on arrival, this guy got the A-Team.
And I love it when a plan comes together.

Oh, and f**k you, Death.
Not on my shift.
Not this time.


  1. Completely agree with you, absolutely satisfying!

  2. There are worse things than death. Having a pulse back but having anoxic or hypoxia brain injury. Spending 45 days in the ICU without ever waking up and finally having the plug pulled after umpteen grams of norepinephrine. Sometimes I wonder.......watching the anguish of family members living through those 45 days of hope/no hope roller coaster; being part of a family watching your BIL slowly die from the cancer that ravages his once-youthful body, knowing he wants to live for his family but listening to him tell his family good-bye. No, death is not the enemy.........our inability to let go might be. There is a reason why pneumonia is considered an old man's best friend........