My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please
take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting.
And if for some reason you think you see your story here.....you don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)
ACLS Stress, Cinco de Mayo & Wild Eyed Peers with Paddles
Many of you will know what I'm talking about when I say that every two years there comes a time when your stress level is OFF THE CHARTS when that time comes when your education coordinator hands you your little blue, or red, or green packet and says: "two weeks to renew your ACLS" or better yet you get that e-mail a MONTH ahead of time that says "you are scheduled to renew your ACLS on May 6th so make sure you come by my office to pick up your study materials." That's even better because that gives you an ENTIRE month to worry, stress, and be sick over it.
Now maybe there are some of you that have been given the Advanced Cardiac Life Support Holy Peace Genes that prevent any stress because you know that you have NOTHING TO FEAR but I am not one of them.
Can I run a code? Well yes. Do I know which drugs to give? Well yes. Do I know how to save a life? Well yes. Most of us in Critical Care do but for some reason, when it comes time to renew, I don't know what it is, it's a very stressful time. I thought for awhile it was just me but when I walked in yesterday and heard some of the others talking (others being people from other hospitals who I did not know - that right THERE adds to the comfort level let me tell ya!) it just reinforced what I already felt. I heard "omg - I'm gonna throw up" and "OMG! If I don't pass this, I can't work tomorrow." etc. etc. I knew then and there I was in the right place! YES!!!
Why am I writing about this? For two reasons........
I want to know who in GOD's name schedules someone to take ACLS the day AFTER CINCO DE MAYO?????????
Did you read the stress I went through up there? And yes, I was a lucky one that got the e-mail a month a head of time. I actually knew the entire year that May was my “MONTH OF DOOM” but I was in major denial……. Let me add that I am a procrastinator so although I had the study materials 2 weeks in advance, I didn't start studying until the day before, which was CINCO DE MAYO!!!! (And thank God for co-workers who will trade days with you so that you CAN study the day before!!!)
I got up early that morning prepared to study all day and into the night.................
So after exhibiting much avoidance behavior…… vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, straightening the bedroom and living room and checking e-mail, I decided I could put if off no longer. I studied and read, and studied from 10am until 6pm. About that time my husband got home and we decided that "heck, if I didn't know it after 8 hours of studying and 8 years as a Critical Care Nurse then I probably didn't deserve to have my certification anyway so out we went! Since we are “of the blood” we felt the need to celebrate the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. (And we wanted beer and tacos too!!!!!) LOL
Ok, so maybe we stayed out a wee bit too late……..it was fun! And remember…. we did it for our people!!!!!
Man! For some reason I woke up at 0330 and laid in bed and stressed over the mega code that I knew I would have to “perform” (I have major performance anxiety! You guys have NO idea!!!!!)lol.
So, at 5:00 I finally just got up and got ready to go. Got there 45 minutes early feeling like crap. Went in and sat with people I did not know. Knew it would suck when I found out it was going to be held in Centennial Medical Center’s (our largest Hospital's) AUDITORIUM. How many freaking people were gonna be there and how many people would I have to perform in front of? Geeeezzz!
Ok, so we start out by having to perform & be checked off on one man CPR! Wow! Started feeling a little paranoid here……. Then got tickled at the situation. My partner and I soon named our guy “stiffy” then when his body flipped up because he’s just a torso you know, we proceeded to create his life story. He’s a bilateral amputee named stiffy. Anyway, won’t go into all the details. Moving on……. You have NO idea how hard it is to inflate a dead man’s lungs when you’re blowing out etoh rather than 02! Lol WOW! Won’t do that again. (J/K)Kind of.
Ok, the funny part. In ACLS - when did they start shocking Bradycardia?
There was a woman in our group who really had no clue. We were running through our mega codes and she apparently is not familiar with codes OR defibrillators. Let me add right here right now she is a Supervisor. Yep, a supervisor. Ok, it’s her turn. The scenario is a lady in the ER comes in with a heart rate of 38, b/p 70 palpable, yadda yadda yadda. She grabs the paddles,simultaneously while stating we only have AEDs where I work, she flips the jules up to 360 before the instructor can stop her and which NONE of us has done but we've stated we would do on a monophasic defibrillator and hits charge! HOLD ON A MINUTE! The instructor tells her to wait and she TURNS towards the instructor with the paddles charged!!!! Instructor is ducking and dodging then she turns towards us and we’re ducking and dodging and we are laughing so hard by now that we are trying to do a constant kegel so as not to pee ourselves. This lady has a wild look in her eyes and is ranting, “ok, is she talking to me, is the patient alert, don’t worry Mrs. Smith, we’ll take care of you, put some 02 on her, start an IV” . OMG!
I guess it was at that point I relaxed and thought…….. Ok, no problem. I’ll go next!
Ok, so here it is guys…… my rant on making your loved ones DNR’s before they ROT in front of yours and our eyes. I DO understand how hard it must be to make that decision being a NON-medical person but please listen to those of us who ARE from the MEDICAL side!!!!! They are SUFFERING!!!!!! It is TORTURE!!!!!! We CANNOT give them enough pain medication to stop their pain because their blood pressure will not TOLERATE IT and YOU are the ones that say we HAVE to do everything to KEEP THEM ALIVE which means we have to keep their blood pressure WITHIN NORMAL LIMITS!!! I know you don’t realize that that means they are suffering beyond belief!!! I know you don’t realize that while we are in the room changing their bedding for the 5th time that day so they don’t lie in a pool of fluid that is oozing from their very pores, we are crying silently because you step out and don’t see the skin falling to the floor. You don’t see them crying out silently because they are now trached. You obviously don’t remember hearing them plead “Cory, no roll, please, no roll BEFORE they were tubed and then trached!!!!” It broke my heart each time I had to do it and without the additional pain medication or sedation that it would take so they wouldn’t feel the pain. What I have to say now is THANK YOU SO MUCH for FINALLY seeing the light. Although it took over a month of pain and suffering for this patient and multiple surgeries, and nothing short of pain and torture, it was the right thing to do to let her go. She would NOT have survived. She would NOT have come back from the gruesome being she had become. Her skin was literally falling from her body. She was rotting. She had infections few had heard of. She was in hell here on earth. She was freed, finally freed from the pain and torture and my hope and my prayers are that her husband does not suffer one day of guilt or uncertainty that he did the right thing. He didn’t let her die. He just didn’t prolong her suffering.