Monday and Tuesday night this week, I had my rotation in the emergency department at St Johns. The most exciting thing I got to see on Monday was a cardioversion. This guy came in with a very irregular heartbeat (called afib) and so the doctor shocked him back into rhythm with the defibrillator (CLEAR!!! Zap!). It was very scary and painful for the guy- but atleast his heart finally was on the right beat and he wasn't dead. I jumped when it happened because the poor guy nearly flew off of the gurney. He was fine as soon as his heart returned to normal, and left the ER within 3 hours to go home.
I helped all different kinds of people throughout both nights. It was so good to be there for people when they are hurting (like the 9 year old who was on her bike and got hit by a car) or when they are confused (like the alcoholic who fell and torn open his head on a table). If you want to see life from all different angles, spend a night in the emergency room.
Last night (Tuesday), I did CPR on a real live human being for the first time. This patient came in that had been in full arrest (unknown reason as to why) and my friend and I had to take turns doing chest compressions on him for about 10-15 minutes. It was so chaotic in there- but much more than what you see on tv (Trauma: Life in the E.R. doesn't quite do it justice). This was the real deal. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics flying around the room while I was on a stool over this guy doing compressions, counting off. I found out how different it is to do CPR on a man vs. a mannequin. I will never ever be scared or hesitant to do it on someone out in public now that I know exactly what to do and how doing real CPR feels. The guy ended up dying and then we had to help clean him up so that his family could come in to see him and say goodbye. I now know how it feels to have done the best I could do in the moment but still not be able to save someone. Taking part in it all was such an experience I can't fully grasp, or describe in words.
What a humbling, wonderful profession I am entering.