Monday, February 09, 2009


I haven't been doing much writing around here lately. Work in the PICU the past several weeks was somewhat monotonous. See the sick babies, write progress notes, round, check the babies labs, round again, blah, blah... in to work in the dark, home from work in the dark.

Sick babies depress me.

The unit was actually slow while I was there. Given the time of year, I had expected a lot of nasty respiratory illnesses, but most of our kids were post-op kids. Tiny runts on ventilators working with half a heart, or trying to breathe through little buds instead of lungs. Tubes in mouths, stomachs, chests, bladder catheters... little plastic octopi plugged into walls. And the beeping machines... yuck.


On weekends I have been working at my other job. The extra money will be nice when it comes in, but it probably hasn't helped my attitude. Some days are good and I walk out of there confident and ready to start my upcoming new job, and some days are not so good. One of the other residents and I were on together the other day, and although I was in the room helping her for almost an entire hour, the patient ended up dying anyway. We have talked the case over and over since, and even though everyone has told us over and over that we did everything right, there's still that feeling of failure.

I don't know why I take it personally when patients die, but I do. If anything, we probably overworked the code-- shocking, giving every medication, and doing compressions so vigorously our joints hurt the next day. Obviously there will always be some that are too sick to save, but it just aggravates me when people die in front of me.

Up until that shift, I was thinking that I was ready to start doing single-coverage (working without another physician on in the department), but now I'm hesitant to do so. On the one hand, I think it will be a good while before I have a case that emotionally draining again. We were lucky in that both of us were able to devote our attention to the one patient, and because I was there, I was able to go back to seeing new patients and cleaning up the rest of the rooms while she spent the rest of the evening dealing with the family and other stuff. I can't imagine what the would have been like if I had been there by myself, especially as I soon got wrapped up in stabilizing a patient having a heart attack and getting him shipped out as quickly as possible. I haven't had the wonderful experience of having to run in between two or more unstable patients yet, and am not looking forward to it.


Things are starting to normalize around here. I have umpteen projects to do before I put my house on the market in the next few months, and kept myself busy this past weekend taping and painting the hallway along the stairs.

AG is safe and doing well, although frustrated by his minimal trips "outside the wire".

I did my taxes already, now I'm just stalling on paying them until April.

I'm back in the department starting tonight, so at least I'll be around my people more the next few weeks.

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