The dreaded high pitched noise…

Hello!

So after a bit of a heavy post last time, I thought I’d give you an update on both patients. Patient B unfortunately passed away the day after the crash, just as I was leaving the ward. I caught Patient B in the corner of my eye and knew straight away, so popped my bag down, drew the curtains and called the night girls over. Then I returned to work the next day on a late shift and was told that Patient A had passed away in the morning ūüė¶

On another note, I have become a vampire, taking ¬†bloods like they’re going out of fashion. At first I really struggled with venepuncture but I think I’ve now got the hang of it. Today I had to take a man’s blood from a heavily tattooed arm of a jokers face. This meant that I really had to go on my sense of touch rather than sight, and not just ‘go in blind’, aiming for blue, which sometimes is the case¬†when¬†the veins aren’t very good. So I was very pleased with myself when I got it!

However, the dreaded high pitched noise of the crash bell went off again today and we were in the middle of washing a patient. From the bay I was in, you can’t hear the crash bell but a nurse calmly asked ‘Are you free? There’s a crash?’ ‘UM YES!! (within reason you immediately become free in these cases). So I ended up running out of the curtain down the ward, taking off my personal protective ¬†equipment whilst running and placing it in a bin on the way.¬†Shutting¬†all patients curtains then the crash team came and we realised it was a false alarm, a peri peri arrest. So once the man was¬†stabilised he went for scans! These are becoming too frequent for my liking, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable in these situations.

Also another funny thing was one of our had a tattoo of a camel on the big toe! I immediately though of this patient drunk, in a tattoo parlour in Malia or somewhere as seen on ‘Sun, Sex, and¬†Suspicious¬†Parents’ with the intention of using it as a chat up line! ‘I’ll show you my camel toe, if you’ll show me yours!’ Ahahahahahaha

Tomorrow is day 7/8 in terms of shifts, so I’m getting there! It’s an Early so I need to be up at 5.50AM …. it’s now 23.38 hmmm I’m going to be zombified!

This weekend I’m so excited to be continuing the uni tour! I’ll hopefully let you know about my visit sometime next week ūüėÄ

Until then…

Am I too young for this?..

So I haven’t blogged in nearly two months but in these months everything has been very routine. Go to work, come home, eat, sleep. Repeat¬†following¬†day. In March however my friends did return from uni for Easter and we had a good catch up, including going to restaurants and cafes, having a stir fry night which was good, not to mention a few nights out!

In terms of uni, I have been to visit my firm choice again and loved it! It’s such a lovely place with people who seem so nice and welcoming, and I can’t wait to start! I have become queen of research, finding out all I can through¬†Facebook¬†pages and forums about the med school and university. At the moment I’m just completing all my paperwork, ready to go ¬†so¬†hopefully¬†my conditional offer will turn to unconditional soon ūüôā

I think the main reason I decided to blog today was because I had my first ‘real’ experience of a crash call, and I suppose it’s put me in a reflective mood. I say my first ‘real’ experience of a crash call as I have attended a few as a work experience student as a part of the anaesthetic involvement. But¬†anaesthetists¬†tend to arrive quite late into the call, partly because theatre’s and ITU are so far from the general medical wards where these mainly happen, so I never really experienced them fully. I suppose there are going to be a few firsts, ‘the first as a med student’, ‘the first as a doctor’…

It was altogether an intense experience. We had two critically ill patients on the ward, patient A and patient B. As bleak as this sounds, patient A seemed to be nearing the end of his life so our main priorities were to make¬†patient¬†A comfortable as they were ‘not for twos’. This patient’s family were contacted and on arrival a relative of patient A fainted in the middle of the bay, due to sheer grief. We managed to catch the relative and place them on a chair. However at the same time, Patient B’s breathing, which was noisy, ceased and they lost all colour. We realised they had a pulse but it was very weak and the crash bell went. Patient A’s relative was still in the bay at this point and could see their very very ill relative as well as the emergency of¬†Patient¬†B. I ended up pulling this relatives chair out of view as they were far too weak to stand themselves. Meanwhile, a stampede of nurses ran out of the handover room and to the bedside of the patient B. In a sense we were lucky that this¬†occurred¬†during handover so we had two shifts worth of staff on meaning resus was efficient as we all slipped into roles. Directing the crash, directing relatives off of the ward, directing crash team to our ward (hardest ward to find in hospital), and making sure the other patients were not in any distress. Luckily the resuscitation attempt was successful and whilst Patient B was recovering, I sat by their bedside to monitor them in these crucial moments.

I felt like I was going to cry in the moment of it all to be honest (I didn’t!), and felt so helpless and panicked and shocked all at once. Looking back I suppose I was helpful in the sense of removing any obstacles to the situation; relatives/lost doctors! But at the time, as I wasn’t involved directly in the resuscitation of Patient B I felt just awful. I didn’t even know the patient’s name as I had been working on the other side of our ward all day which to me seems all so¬†impersonal. I don’t know, I don’t even know whether I’m explaining this well. It’s the most intense and surreal situation to be in, another person so close to death.

Here are other (more comprehensive) responses to the first experience of a crash call:

Today I witnessed my first crash call.¬†¬†To be honest I did not actually realise what was happening till I saw nurses running around shouting ‚Äėwhere is it?‚Äô.¬†I followed the general stampede, and with a move worthy of a rugby forward about to score a try, dodged past two health care assistants trying to stop me adding to the numbers in the already crowded room.¬†¬†I was not going to miss this, perhaps my one opportunity to attend a crash call during my training.¬†¬†Doctors and nurses swarmed around the unfortunate patient who had suffered a massive MI on returning from surgery.¬†¬†I was alarmed at how disturbed I felt about the experience.¬†¬†This was real exciting medicine, but somehow it did not feel like that.¬†¬†I felt sad for the old man in obvious pain and distress amongst a room of strangers who did not even know his name.¬†¬†They fought to save his life, but in a strange way he, the man, was forgotten in the process.¬†¬†I knew it was important for my training, but I felt slightly ashamed to be a spectator intruding on this private tragedy.” ¬†http://blogs.bmj.com/ebn-confessions/2009/05/27/my-first-crash-call/

“Well it was about 6am on this chilly winter morning and I was looking forward to the dawn and the end of my shift. I was doing my usual 6am rounds, checking the all-important fluid balances and doing observations. The patients were rousing sleepily about me.¬†As I headed towards my favourite patient I could immediately see that something wasn‚Äôt right. He was lying on his back and I could hear gurgling noises coming from him! I moved quickly and the first thing I did was roll him onto his side and grab the suction equipment as I thought he was choking. But as I started to suction I realised that he was arresting. With a hot and frightened rush of adrenaline and with shaking hands I grabbed his buzzer and buzzed 3 times. The ward emergency signal.My favourite patient was a big man and I was a rather petite teenager, but at that moment I seemed to have added strength and with some effort I rolled him onto his back. With a racing heart and sweaty palms I realised that the CPR was up to me and so I started it, all the while silently hoping the RN would answer the emergency buzzer as quickly as possible.Time seemed to stand still and I seemed to move in slow motion while I initiated CPR. I remember feeling hot and cold flushes as I desperately tried to remember all I had been taught. I hadn‚Äôt even seen an arrest before let alone be the nurse to find someone having an arrest and be the one to begin CPR! Fortunately I remembered what I was supposed to do, and even though time seemed to drag, the RN and the other nurse were with me within a very short time. The code was called, the RN took over, the resus team arrived and I faded into the background to finish my shift, shattered and shaking. I went home feeling as if I been in a car crash!¬†When I returned to work that night I found out that my favourite patient didn‚Äôt survive his arrest and I felt as if I had let him down and hadn‚Äôt done a good enough job in trying to resusitate him. Fortunately, even though debriefing wasn‚Äôt something that was commonly done, the RN was able to reassure me that he had been a very sick man and that I had done exactly as I should have. And that was the end of it.¬†I saw and participated in quite a few more arrests after that one and I have to admit that I never got used to them and found them all a nerve-wracking experience. However, all those subsequent arrests have faded from my memory, but the arrest of my favourite patient is as clear today as it was 35 years ago.¬†My memories aren‚Äôt just because of my fear and anxiety over participating in my first medical emergency though that of course is a big part of it.¬†It was also because a patient I had connected to died and I couldn‚Äôt help him. This particular experience really brought home to me what nursing is all about. It‚Äôs the sort of experience that made some of the 17 year-olds I worked with hand in their resignations!”¬†http://www.nurseuncut.com.au/cardiac-arrest-the-first-time-i-saw-it-happen/

Hopefully with experience and the ability to be directly involved, coping with crashes will get easier, but I don’t want to lose that sense of humanity towards the patient and become emotionless in them. It’s difficult.

Ahh sometimes I do think, ‘I’m only 18 ¬†– most people my age are out clubbing multiple times over the weekend but I’m dealing with people’s lives, I’m too young for this.’ But again after a chance to reflect, it kind of makes me more determined to be a doctor so I can directly help in these situations. (I bet I’ll eat these words when I attend my first crash as a doctor!)

What a day! I feel drained. I’m, back at work tomorrow and hope both patients are still with us and are more stable but have to be realistic with these hopes.

Sorry for such a depressing post after being away for so long, but I’ll try to blog again soon (within the month at least haha)

Until next time…

Sainties 2k13!!.

That’s right, the uni tour continues! This time I went to a different country where the money looks different (that’s how you know you’re abroad) to Saint Andrews in Scotland. Yes, where Kate and Wills went to uni! It was a fun packed trip as I went to see not one, but two friends from home.

So after a lengthy train journey I arrived and decided to chill with C whilst S did her a food shop as I was quite tired. But we started our food week by having fish and chips. St Andrews is near the sea so it was bound to be tasty and it sure was. One thing I noted though was that Cod was¬†unavailable¬†and they only did haddock, what?!! I then tried the infamous Scottish treat of a deep fried Mars bar, and to my surprise it was nice. The most comparable thing is Domino’s Cookies, they taste very similar and are also very similar in texture. I would actually have a deep fried Mars bar again.

We then returned to halls to get ready for the buzzin’ club life in St. Andrews which comprises of a grand total of 3 clubs, and we chose the one which Prince William was seen attending… The Lizard! Pre drinks occurred¬†and were¬†great, I don’t think I’ll ever live down my answer of ‘Rome’ to a drinking game where we had to list countries… Let’s say the alcohol had hit by then! I would love to hear Prince William’s description of this club but the only way I can describe it is that it’s so bad it’s funny. The DJ is a cross dressing man named Ian who is great and really up for a laugh and I think the highlight of the night was when my friends made him do a shout out for my birthday… I’m not even born in March! It was in a¬†strange¬†way, a fun night but it did get a bit too squished on the¬†dance floor¬†which rumour has it as capacity 40 people… there were a few hundred! A night I’ll never forget!

The next morning I felt like there was sandpaper in my throat and a drummer was playing in my head. So what a better way to recover than pancakes in the cafe where Kate met Wills?!! Cast your eyes over these beauties:

023Hahaha you can see C taking a picture also! These were the best pancakes I have ever eaten and just so good! After, C and I went on a tour of St Andrews and I took some awesome photos, if I may say so myself. They are prospectus worthy – here are a couple:

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That evening we decided to give clubbing another go after a stir fry cooked by S. Prinks were not as good as the night before as I still think people were recovering from the previous night but we tried another place called The Vic. It was a more conventional club and really good, but unfortunately the night was cut short.

Another morning, another hangover, another good breakfast, another Scottish food (potato scone):

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This was my last full day in Sainties and after brunch S and I returned to C’s to skype friends at home which was fun. We then went down to the pier and I completed the Pier Walk, so essentially I am now a matriculated student YAY! ¬†It was quite scary because on one side there is the sea and the other jagged rock = danger. I managed to walk all the way down it though! This evening we decided to move away from clubbing and continue eating. We went to a great tasty Indian called Maisha, where Boris Johnson once dined, with some of S’ friends, and then walked along the beach in the dark. It was pretty cold so some hot chocolate in C’s kitchen was definitely needed and I got to meet some of his friends who were great, particularly one guy who had some hilarious stories!

What was meant to be an early night turned into quite a late one but in the morning we still all had time to grab some more pancakes mmmm. A lengthy train journey home beckoned but I had a tasty gingerbread man from a bakery to look forward to.

A question asked a few times whilst I was in Sainties was: which is better Cambridge or St Andrews? But they’re both great in their own ways, I would happily study at both!

Hopefully the uni tour will continue!

Until next time…

#50 and Firmed!!

So on the 20th February 2013, I officially firmed my place to study next year! It felt so good and satisfying being able to cancel my other uni choices:

‘Are you sure you want to cancel this choice?’ ¬†*CLICKS YES*¬†

What a difference a year makes,¬†eh? As if I’d even dream about withdrawing from schools this time last year…

Next step for me is student finance and maybe revisiting my chosen place to study to see the accommodation!! An en-suite is basically a necessity in my eyes haha

Other than that, I’ve been very busy I had a run of 7 day shifts then made a trip up to St Andrews to see two of my friends and then went¬†straight¬†back to work. ¬†I’m¬†starting¬†to get a bit fed up of work in all honesty, there never seems to be a shift that goes by without some sort of drama. This time we were confronted with a man confused due to infection, who was extremely aggressive. So much so that four security guards were required to be with him at all times. He had one nurse by the throat and punched and kicked others. It was something I’d never seen before. What happened to going to work, treating the patients, then going home?? It’s got to the point where all of our staff are exasperated and our senior nurse has cried twice in the last two weeks out of frustration!

I know this sounds like I hate work but I don’t. I just want to go back to looking after patients without the possibility of being assaulted whilst doing so. Also I suppose I blog when something dramatic happens so this is a sort of one-sided account of things #disclaimer!

Until next time…

EDIT: Just realised this is my 50th post! What a way to mark it with firming my uni choice WAHOO!!

more news…

British weather is so unpredictable. Today it felt like Summer was creeping up on us; clear blue sky, sun shining, and a cool breeze. So what did I decide to do? That’s right, go jogging, twice. Over 2 miles in total with my ‘time to get funky’ headphones on blaring the beats of¬†Calvin¬†Harris.

So Lent is¬†going¬†well so far but as¬†expected¬†the interview¬†didn’t.¬†I heard back from them today (super speedy, I know) and I’ve been put on the waiting list. As ‘reading a novel friend’ said, at least I haven’t been rejected outright, but another offer would have been nice – I suppose that’s just being greedy!

I’m waiting to hear back from the two other schools, and then I can make a decision! No matter what though, I’m going to Medical School this year which is so exciting!!

Until next time…