Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome to the ICU... part two

It is day two of my week and I come in to work early to check on my patient.
He is back from surgery and is on CVVH... a form of dialysis.

There are four IV pumps in the room.... each with 4 channels full of medications that are keeping him alive.
Christmas trees of lights and IV bags and a symphony of alarms. 
My charge nurse asks if I would like to have him back.

"Yes, please!" I want to help... I want to know what is wrong... I feel a sense of responsibility here.
 He was my patient for so long... I want to do what I can to make it better... even if it is only for my own peace of mind. There are drones of people circling his room. Doctors from every service and every free nurse is there to lend a hand. His wife is waiting to see him outside.

After group report I head to his bedside and get report from the dayshift nurse.
It is going to be a long night... he is much worse now.
There are still no answers... only speculations as to what caused this rapid decline.

One by one his family cycles in through his room. Praying for him... crying over him... kissing his head and telling him how much he is loved. It is a busy shift. Managing his dialysis, his IV medications, his vitals are mostly stable... his lab values aren't good but they don't change overnight.

I get in the zone and before I know it morning has come.
As I give report to the new dayshift nurse he begins to crash. 
His alarms chiming in telling me so...
his pressures are unstable and I quickly get the doctors at his bedside.
I do the best I can to coherently explain the last 48 hours and luckily his dayshift nurse was one of the people helping yesterday so she is familiar. 

I drive home... exhausted and weary again... but still praying for a miracle...
praying that he will make it through the day.

to be continued...

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