Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My ER Experiences

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.


Randy said...


Name said...

wow! speechless ... except for this two words and those and those ... ahhh, it's coming back. Thanks for making this an evening post. Please don't post stuff like this in the morning, I don't like almost crying at work. I'm glad God made people like you because if we were all like me we'ed all be dead.

JaredB said...

That's awesome.

Ya, some of those shows on TV kind of bug me sometimes, especially that dramatization after the fact one (I'm not sure if that's the one you mentioned, since I don't know all their names). Even on the "real" ones, I always kind of thought that it's got to be a little different with all the camera crew, etc. around, and when it really gets crazy they probably have the TV people leave anyway.

jacquie said...

i'm with randy. i don't know what else to say. oh wait, yes i do. you amaze me. thanks for sharing. it must be so draining for people who work ER all the time. how do they function in normal life, when at work they are engaged in so much real live drama? hang in there. we need people like you.

The One and Only Bugg said...

What you all said lifted my spirits. This has been the most emotionally draining week of my nursing school career as of yet. I have a huge test on Friday, and then on Saturday all day I have a hospice rotation. Whew! God give me strength and I can get through it.
I think hospitals nowadays are trying to have support groups available to the nurses (especially in pediatric or regular ICU, ER, Cardiac, and Oncology). That way, nurses learn how to process what has gone on around them and deal with it.

I'll definintely be going to the groups. I'm too sensitive and let everything affect me as it is now.

Martha said...

Love is a sick and twisted thing of mine. I am so amazed by the resiliance of the human body, and the weakness all at the same time! You rock...wish I had the cajones to do it. Martha

The One and Only Bugg said...

You do have the cojones to do it! They do have ER volunteers. There's this one guy who just helps out but he gets to see everything. Sign up!

The way the body works and reacts down to its basic're right- it's amazing.
And yet some people still think that there is no God.

nathan stryker said...

wow, i definitely do not have the cojones to do that. :-(