Saturday, March 26, 2011

Medical Marvels

Hi this is Devin. First of all, sorry about how long this post is. You might have to break up the reading :)

Well this is only my second blog post ever, but I thought I would update you all on a few things that are going on here. Nursing school is pretty intense, I'm almost done with this semester, thank goodness. A couple of personal stories I would like to share that I will title medical marvels. The first is about a lady at the hospital that I work at. I spend most of my time working in the ICU and the other day a woman checked in who had overdosed on a particular med. I overheard the doctors talking about her situation (and swearing about this particular womans stupidity). A little back-round--Every drug has a therapeutic index in which it works in the body, once it reaches the minimum, it can begin it's effect, once it passes the maximum, it overwhelms the livers ability to metabolize and the kidneys ability to excrete the drug. The therapeutic window for this drug was right around 100 mg/dl. This lady's blood level of the drug was over 1,000mg/dl. (not compatible with life.) The doctors couldn't figure out how she was still alive. She was crashing hard, and I watched right outside of her room while she was surrounded by about 3 doctors and 7 nurses trying to intubate her and revive her. It was pretty intense and I felt like I was living an episode of house. The lady was still alive when I left for my shift, and hopefully she still is. Pretty crazy.

My second story happened at my clinical site at school. We were taking some blood sugars of patients when we saw what just happened to be the lowest glucose level that my clinical instructor had ever seen on a conscious patient in her entire career (and she's been around awhile). The normal range for glucose is around 80-120 mg/dl, best if it's closer to 100. This lady had a blood glucose reading of 16. The brain runs solely on glucose, and when your blood level is that low, the cells in your brain begin to die, your heart goes into cardiac arrest, and you die. At least that's what every medical textbook in the world says should happen near that point, but not in this lady's case. It's just one of those crazy things that happens, and miraculously doesn't end in a tragedy. So my instructor basically dumped the nearest orange juice she could find down the patients throat as fast as she could and then took another reading. It rose up to around 30, then another juice, then a little higher until she was around 80. It was pretty intense. That's one situation where a family was very glad there were nursing students working on grandma that day.

Another neat story comes to mind that I heard from a guest speaker this past friday in my gerontological nursing class. She is the administrator over a home health organization here in Salt Lake, and an RN herself. She told a story about a little boy who nearly drowned in a river here in the Salt Lake area when he was about 2. The boy fell into a vegetative state and had many complications over the next decade, and when he was 10, he was put on hospice. The nurse was at the home of this family when the boy was declining fast, and she told us about how she watched the mother hold the boy in her arms as he died. The nurse went on to say that right before the boy passed, he all of the sudden gained control of all his faculties, becoming the normal boy he really was for a brief moment. He looked up at his mom and said, "thank you." Then closed his eyes and passed away.

I don't know if this nurse was LDS or not, but she said with a choked up voice that it's experiences like that that allow you to know that there is in fact life after death. It was good to hear her say that to us because a very large portion of my class are not LDS and I would assume, do not have a belief in life after death. And for a nurse to come along and share a personal experience as touching as that was very powerful and I could tell it hit everyone pretty hard.

To end this post I though I would share the top ten reasons why I love working at the hospital:

10. It's not a nursing home.
(I worked in a nursing home for a year in provo, and yeah, glad that's done).

9. I don't have to change a lot of diapers.
(That was most of my day at the nursing home, and it's not my favorite hobby).

8. Free snacks.
(Ever been in a hosptial and been offered juice, soda, pudding, etc?..., I have pretty much unlimited access to everything from vanilla wafers to V8 juice anytime I want :)

7. Leading me closer to my career goal.
(I will most likely be able to get on in the ICU pretty quick after I graduate from nursing school because I already will have worked there for over 2 years, which is a required and hard step to achieve if your going into CRNA school--nurse anesthesia school like I am).

6. Tuition reimbursement.
(My hospital reimburses me up to $5200 a year for school. Yeah, I like that).

5. Helps me with nursing school.
(It's sooooo much easier to learn about things in school when I've already been exposed to them at work).

4. Money.
(I really love getting that check every other week. It really helps buffer the ridiculously expensive tuition that I pay at Westminster College).

3. Getting to be exposed to a broad spectrum of things(..been studying too much pharmacology).
(I've seen a lot of interesting, inspiring, and crazy things. I've seen first hand what happens to you when you party too hard and nearly drink yourself to death. I've seen patients and their condition right after suicide attempts. I've seen what happens to you when you eat chocolate pudding and drink sprite all day, everyday :) Which is why I watch myself on those, and come home and drink (and make Christine drink) my gross spinach, apple, banana, and carrot shake, then go work out).

2. Frequent reminders to eat healthy and exercise a lot!!!
(This kind of goes along with the last one, but I've seen so many 50 year olds on their death bed with a medical diagnoses list as long as the great wall of china that never took care of themselves, that would be out running and enjoying a beautiful summers day (not to mention the next 40+ years of their life) if they would have just started good habits early on in their life. I've got my dad doing a few push-ups everyday to improve upper body strength that will pay off in the end for him. I'm going to keep pushing you to do more dad!

Along these lines I recently was called to be an elders quorum teacher in my ward and a couple weeks ago I gave a lesson on the word of wisdom. I didn't want to focus on the same old word of wisdom lesson that everyone has heard and taught a million times, so I changed it up a little bit. I focused on healthy eating habits and exercise, and I gave them a lot of data on how long LDS people live for who closely live the word of wisdom based on some studies done by UCLA. I hope they enjoyed it and got something out of it).

And the number one reason I love working at the hospital is........

1. Getting to have as many free doctors appointments as I want, whenever I want.
(Yes we have great health insurance through the hospital, but I'm talking about the fact that I'm surrounded by doctors all day. For example, I noticed a small lump in my leg the other day and just today I had one of the experienced doctors feel it and give me his thoughts on it--don't worry, probably just a swollen lymph node, although the doctor couldn't stop joking over and over about how it was cancer that was going to kill me. Also, with our baby that is over 10 weeks along now, I was able to ask several doctors who they thought the best OB was in the hospital, which led us to our current OB :)

Thanks for reading everyone, stay tuned for more of my posts...


Casey said...

Hey Devin,(I told think I've ever met you but your lovely wife can tell you who I am haha but she might call me casey frasey) anyway just wanted to say I loved your post. My husband Pete is in the same boat as you. He is also going into CRNA and I love listening to his hospital stories etc...I also loved watching House with him and having him explain stuff to me. thanks for sharing! Good luck with everything.

Camille said...

interesting stories Dev...I start my hospital rotations this month and am really excited :)

Our Family said...

Thanks for the post! Life seems to get the best of me sometimes and I don't take care of myself as well as I should! We are sooooo proud of you for working so hard! Can't wait to see you guys and to see that sweet baby in October! Love you both!