Something is wrong when your patient is an inanimate pile of human meat and you’re still angry at him.
It started several weeks ago when I did 6 days very close together and since then, I’ve noticed that it’s been happening more often.
I got my patient, sedated and intubated, for whom ER and day shift hadn’t done anything for. I was already irritated. He was a chronic alcoholic who is a regular visitor to the ER for routine GI bleeding, only this day he hadn’t made it anywhere. With a critically low Hemoglobin he was just found unconscious by family.
For six days I pumped unit after unit of product into him and cleaned his foul regions as he kept shitting it out again. As I spent hours starting down at him, cleaning him, keeping him alive, I became more angry at him. Angry that he was so careless with his own life as to cause this. Angry with the resources that were used, who knows how many other lives could have been helped?
This is not a good state of mind to be in. I have been noticing my general irritability increasing.
Last night my patient was a 36 year old with cancer. Her prognosis is poor. I busied myself with my normal tasks and didn’t think much about it until I had a talk with her parents to determine her code status. Then it finally hit me. Hours into my shift, and I realized the humanity of the situation.
I’m not fixed. I don’t know what to do, but I can’t continue down this slippery slope.
Hopefully happier posts await.