I'm in the ICU and was just back from an incredible tropical vacation. Nine days of vegging out on the beach. The glistening ocean was just steps away from the five-star hotel I was staying in, where doormen greeted me with fruity daiquiris and a staff that couldn't wait to serve my every whim. I was in paradise, and far, far away from the reality of my day-to-day existence as an ...

Read more...

Victim: Female nurse, age 25 Time: circa 1980 Place: A hospital in a sleepy Southern town with fifty beds, six emergency department beds, one nurse, one doctor and one secretary. It was an unusually quiet Friday night in this small emergency department. We all knew Friday was "party day": pay day, play day, alcohol, pills, drugs, loud music and lots of really bad decisions. Not only did we cover the entire city, but we also ...

Read more...

He had cardiomyopathy and CHF for over 20 years. At the time, doctors told him he could die at any time. That was 20 years ago. His EF was 10 percent — barely livable. Two decades later, this admit kept him on a see-saw with respiratory distress, a bad heart, bad lungs, atrial fibrillation with RVR and heart rate in the 140s all day long. He progressed from nasal cannula to ...

Read more...

There was her 28-year-old daughter lifeless in an ICU bed. Her name was Tricia, and she had dabbled with drugs since she was 15. As a child, she was artistic, adventurous, and always found excitement with other kids who tended to do risky things. She'd justify their behavior and say they were more fun and had better personalities. Eventually, her mom and dad moved to a small town thinking it would be ...

Read more...

The toddler was a curious, rambunctious, talkative three-year-old who loved to explore. Every week, he’d wait for Sunday to come, because Sunday was he and his dad’s special day. Mikey and his father adored each other. Whether Mikey and his dad were doing “horseback rides,” playing basketball, or just sitting on the rocking chair for story time, whenever they were together there was fun, love and a forever bond. Mom called them “the ...

Read more...

What can I tell you? It started out innocently. College exams were over. And that meant one thing — party time! Bubbly, shots, beer, cocaine and Percocet. Everyone was happy. It was a celebration. Pam came from a pretty strict religious family: no alcohol, no premarital sex and no crazy music in her house growing up. It was church every Wednesday and Sunday. And if you missed a Sunday, you were ...

Read more...

There was a lot about that place I didn't want to see or hear. The buzzing and whirring of ventilators; the loud call bells; near-dead patients; nurses running around with IV pumps and tubes dangling along behind them; the heart-stopping "Code Blue" warning; or the electrical sizzle of a patient getting shocked as someone screams, "All clear!" I didn't want to do it. Just a few days before, I had buried my mom. First ...

Read more...

Welcome to the land of happiness, sadness, confusion, self-doubt, defeat and heroism. You have only just begun. This is not an easy job. And countless times you will say, "What was I thinking?" Or "Why did I do this?" But it's not really a job. It is a lifelong sentence. It can be insanely gratifying, or you can throw in the towel. But be patient. It will consume you, and you will ...

Read more...

Once upon a time, I worked for a large hospital in the surgical-trauma ICU. It was just a six-month gig, and I had to travel from home further than I wanted. But my son would be starting college soon, and the $10,000 bonus was too irresistible. Diane was the manager. The most kind, skilled, and helpful person I have ever met as an ICU manager. She had every possible attribute as a ...

Read more...

We fought. And we fought hard. We were smarter and quicker and we could multi-task, and critically think beyond any MD or NP or PA or beyond any cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) nurse. We always thought we had the higher acuities. We had the critical patients. The multi-system failure patients. The hemodynamically unstable patients. We had to figure out the lungs, the heart, the kidneys, the brain, the pancreas, the gallbladder, the liver. And ...

Read more...

2 Pages

Most Popular