Tuesday, 5 October 2010


My shoes were getting wet. That's the thing that was going through my mind as I felt for a pulse, put my stethoscope to his chest and called for oxygen and a cannula. As the world outside of my own limited range of vision blurred and went into some sort of stop go motion I knelt in the pool of warm water and went through my ABCs, my skirt becoming sodden.

Satisfied with the pulse I pushed the fat cannula into a vein and collected blood, connected the line and reached for the next needle for the ABG. First go into an artery watching the bright red blood, so different to venous blood fill the syringe by itself. Stabbing it into the foam that comes with the kit and continuing my assessment. Kneeling in the water, pushing it away and doing all those things that we're trained to do on a mannequin but that is done so we can do this. Alone but for a few nurses hovering uncertainly and a patient who could be critically ill.

Someone passing me the gloves that I'd not bothered with before, and snapping them onto my damp hands so that for the next 40 minutes they steamed until my skin was stained the faint yellow of the latex and a full 24 hours I can still smell on my skin. And all I'm thinking of, that's keeping the buzzing out of my head is that my shoes are getting wet.

I accompany down to radiology, and am there as he goes through the CT machine, documenting thoroughly, but I am unprepared to my response to all of this. The responsibility that landed so squarely in my lap and just how much worse it could have been. I sit up on the ward later, and see him waving to his "friends" excited and happy by the whole experience and I'm shaking. It's 2 hours past when I should have been home and he's enjoying it. I'm so angry that I want to hit something. Violent at the thought of just how this could have gone, just how many people this could have affected, and how lucky everyone has been.

And I wonder if I'm in the right job afterall. Because even though I did everything right, even though everyone I am looking after is fit and healthy and well, I still feel so very very wrong. And I wonder if maybe I can keep on doing this.


Nina said...

Why do you think it feels so wrong? Do you think it will pass...? have you been able to speak to other doctors to see if they experienced similar feelings when at your level of experience?

And another very important question... why were your feet getting wet...?! I can't figure it out.

Jenn said...

Was in the shower. One of the first things I did was get it turned off lol.

Nina said...

Aha! That makes sense.


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