I find it hard to post about “being a doctor.” I think it’s because when I arrive home I want to keep work, at work. It’s exhausting to have your thoughts occupied with “Did I miss anything?” “Did I remember to chart that up for the patient?” “Did I call this person?” when you’re suppose to be relaxing at home and the thought of blogging about work is not exactly ideal.
But these last 2 weeks have been really busy and a lot has happened. I’ve had a few patients pass away and was involved in a Code Blue – which involved 60 minutes of CPR. It’s really a bizarre feeling when you find yourself certifying someone’s death then having to “get back to work” as though nothing had happened. It was only last week I saw this lovely patient live and well and then the week after she’s wheeled in by ambulance non-responsive and barely breathing and 24 hours later she’s gone… Or the gentleman I saw being wheeled into the CCU (Critical Care Unit) with failing kidneys and lungs. His eyes confused with the commotion around him. 48 hours it’s just me in his room and his eyes are like glass.
I didn’t know the man who I did CPR on. There was a Code Blue in ED and all of us doctors ran. This was my first Code Blue… He was a 70 year old gentleman who had just come in. He was non-responsive and his heart rate was dropping. Us interns started CPR. We all stood in a line with gloves on ready to swap when the other tired. Most of us had only done CPR on dummies. It was strenuous and very different to doing it on a mannequin. Suddenly every chest compression mattered – right technique, right depth, right placement- if you were tired you had to swap. There was no use doing lousy chest compressions. I remember looking at his eyes as I pressed down on his chest- silently hoping for a heart beat or a pulse. But it never came and an hour later the Consultant ordered the CPR to stop and called it.
I didn’t feel sad… I felt numb… I think it’s because I didn’t know the man and hadn’t seen him “alive.” I did cry for one patient early this year. My first rotation as an intern. I was working over the weekend so I was looking after everyone in the hospital. I had just met this man that morning. He was doing well his blood looked great. That afternoon his haemoglobin dropped dramatically and his blood pressure starting dropping. It became a Code Blue. He was bleeding somewhere and we had to rush him to theatre where I was allowed to assist. His abdomen was just blood… too much to stop.. he died on the table. Afterwards the nurses on the wards were kind and let me have some time to myself. I cried. I cried for him and for his family. That was the first time I cried for a patient.
You really see the highs and lows of a person’s life in this position which is rewarding and sad at the same time. I’m only 23 and it’s hard to believe that I’m a “doctor” and dealing with these issues while my friends are out there being actual 23 year olds. I don’t feel I’m mature enough for this sometimes.