Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just my bad luck

I'm ill. With just one month to go I have contracted what feels like strep throat. Last night it was so hard to swallow I thought I had epiglottitis and was about to take myself to the hospital to be intubated.

I'm finished my days at the Sleep Lab - which turned out to be an awesome time. Yesterday, I watched all the probes get put on, and then I followed a Dr around while he told people that they needed CPAP (worst job ever). The people who work there are fantastic and the time just flew by. However now I need to do my two nights - which I don't really understand. Why on earth would they have us do nights? The exact same thing happens during the day and during the night, except the daytime is busier. Hopefully my sickness makes me sleep all day :P

I have my home care rotation next week. That's right it starts on Monday, and the guy just emailed me yesterday (after I emailed him.. again) to inform me that the dress code is business casual. That is perfect! Because all I brought here this time were scrubs and fleece pants! Awesome! I know! I will go shopping with my extra money - with all the money I have made this year. UGH.


  • 2 Night Shifts at the Sleep lab
  • 4 Home Care Shifts
  • 1 Classroom Day
  • 1 Exam
  • 9 Hospital Shifts
That's really not that much. I think I'm going to make it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Drudgery Continues

So today I started at the Sleep Lab. The person I worked with today was not even an RRT, but she had her PSG (polysomnography technician) designation. FYI, Canada does not have a PSG designation or program. If sleep is really what gets you excited then you can be accredited through the States. Sleep does actually get me excited, but not in the same way. I actually just like to sleep.

Let me tell you how a typical day in a sleep lab goes - in case you have never been.

  • Set up sleep patient (this take about an hour to glue probes all over their body)
  • Watch them sleep (this takes the rest of the day)
Ok, so maybe a few more things go on. Today only one tech was on, and everyone else was on holidays. A patient showed up on the wrong day so she had to get two patients ready before we could watch them sleep. A polysomnograph monitors EEG, ECG, snoring, leg movement, eye movement, chin movement and flow from your nose, so it is actually quite a process to set up and gives you tons of information. What I don't understand is why I had to spend 2 weeks yelling at people in the PFT lab but only get 2 days and 2 nights in the Sleep Lab - there is SO much more to know. 

In the afternoon a Dr. was in the office seeing and assessing patients, so I tagged along with him. We went to see one patient, who was reading a book called... "The 7 secrets to a good night sleep." Really? You had to bring that to the sleep clinic? Sigh.

Overall I would have to place the Sleep lab somewhere above PFTs but below Homecare.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Best PFT ever.

Today was my last day. I was supremely glad, although I have come to enjoy doing PFTs and they are really not that bad once you get the hang of them.

I did a PFT on the cutest 8 year old boy ever. He was hilarious. First thing, he looked at the PFT flow sensor and asked me, "Exactly how many people's mouths have already been on that today." First time I have ever been asked that. So I explained about the new filter for every person.

Then I put the sat monitor on him. He sat still while I got the 2 minute strip. When I took the finger clip off he said, "I just would like to know that that light is, how it works, and what it does." So I tried to explain the wavelengths and red blood cells.

I don't know anyone who has ever thought of how or why the pulse ox works, never mind an eight year old asthmatic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


CPET or Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is not that exciting. The idea is that a patient gets on a bike and pedals as hard as they can (or at a set level with increasing tension) until they cannot pedal any longer. At this point there are some figures worked out (RQ and anaerobic threshold to name a few) and the Dr has an enlightening moment about the cardiovascular status of the patient. This is the theory.

In reality this is what happens:

  • At 2:30 we start setting up the room. This involves switching gas cannisters and doing calibrations and generally setting up the equipment required.
  • At 3ish the patient shows up.
  • They get all wired up for sound, including sandpapering their skin and attaching ECG leads.
  • Preliminary flow volume loop and manual blood pressure is performed.
  • Patient sits on bike for 30ish minutes.
  • At 3:45 the Dr shows up. 
  • The patient pedals for approximately 4.32 minutes. Patient is exhausted from pedaling. It doesn't matter if the patient is 17, 40 or 80. They only ever last 4.32 minutes. Dr is always disappointed. 
  • We clean up the whole room and leave at 4:15. 
  • With the exception of one test last week where something exciting happened, and the Dr loved the test, and then decided the patient should go for an angiocath. Please note - nothing exciting actually happened during the exercise test. I think he pedaled for 5 or 6 minutes though.
I am honestly trying to not be negative about this all. But I can't. I don't like it. I find it all so rote. The same thing happens every day. Well there is a little variation. Today, for example, we had a lady forget her teeth in the plethysmography booth and then the next lady was a puker. A lot of people smell bad. Oh and the DLCO gas wouldn't work in one room so there was a lot of going back and forth between rooms. That's where the excitement ends.

Except for in my personal life, where the excitement keeps on going into the evening. I got home... and did laundry! After that I took a laptop to my grandparents and tried to teach them to use it. Futile! I don't know whose idea it was to give my grandpa a laptop (it wasn't from me, I was just delivering it) but imagine someone who has never turned on a computer in their life and also doesn't know what a mouse is and how it works. And then double it, because grandma needed in on the action too. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Wow - what a relief. I finally got a call that someone would like to employ me!
The hospital that I did the extra rotation in (in January) called yesterday to offer me a casual position. I have never been so excited! Start date is May 9th!

In other news, I have been sick for the past 2 days, so have been blissfully exempt from the PFT lab. I'll definitely be back at it tomorrow, with just 3 shifts left to go there.

Here's what I have left:

  • One week in the sleep clinic/lab
  • One week with a homecare company
  • Final Exam (for some reason I have week off around this exam. Lucky me)
  • Two weeks of wards/ICU shifts at the hospital.
And done! We are going to Hawaii for Easter and I am so excited because I have never been and I am not sure if winter will be over here by then, so I will be about due for some sunshine! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The True Definition of Dread

I drove to work today. Before I could force myself to get out of the car I drove half way back home again.

And then I talked myself into going, so I drove back.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where I do not want to work.

Hi there. I realize as time as gone along I have gotten a lot more sporadic at having great posts, and updates about life. The thing is that I have had the life sucked out of my for the past 10 months. I've already worked 1,348 hours - for free. I've done about 10 online assignments and countless online tests. I have done 2 finals, and wrote a 15 page paper.. I also made a poster. So I guess I have just lost the drive to the extra's - which is too bad because I actually really enjoy writing - and I have tried to use this site as a way to keep track of my memories.  I hope that once I have graduated, and *hopefully* gotten a job I will have more time to do things that I like again.

Ok. So this week I am at the pulmonary function lab. YAWN. I hate to be like this, I know that this is an important part of the diagnostic, and thus the treatment, process. But. Yesterday was my first day. I learned how to calibrate the equipment. Then I watched about 6 tests. I also got to see a methacholine challenge, and a cardiopulmonary exercise test. So I guess that was interesting. Honestly that would have been enough for me - just the one day. I would go back to accounting before I took a full time job in pulmonary functions. Instead I have the rest of this week and ALL next week. It is excruciating. And even though I get off at 4pm, I can't even enjoy the rest of the day because I am just dreading going back in the morning.

I feel like I am in the middle of a sadistic curling game. Hurry! Hurry! Hard! When I'm not busy yelling at people, I'm locking them in a box.

This could be me. But it's not. But doesn't this stolen photo make PFT's look exciting?

Also - I never heard from the home care company - so I guess that is a big NO. Still waiting to hear from any hospitals. Nail biting.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Love Hate

So I was able to go from loving the children's hospital with all of my heart to hating it with every fibre of my being within 30 seconds.

Here's how it went down. I was truly loving my experience at the hospital, and as such had submitted my resume. As I had not heard anything, and am scheduled to go back to my small town hospital in a week, I approached the manager to let him know I would be leaving town next week, just in case he wanted to interview me. He then told me that I wasn't contacted because I did my training at Hospital A (my hospital), and he just flat out won't interview anyone from that hospital. WTF. I know that he has only been working in that position for a year, and last year they didn't hire anyone from my hospital - so I'm not sure what happened to taint him again my hospital so much. But. I hate the children's hospital now.

I worked an evening shift there last night and my heart was so not into it. I was being quizzed on NO administration, and I just couldn't remember anything. I couldn't remember any of the names of the baby conditions that you would use it for (granted my preceptor was a giant BITCH) and I just plain old sucked. This was made worse by the fact that I did not care. At the end of this quiz session I was told this - "You failed that." Thanks for that. No kidding. I mean - the questions were easy, and I should have easily answered them - but I was just in a terrible mind frame.

I interviewed at the hospital I did my additional training at in January. I am still waiting to hear back from them, as well as the home care company. I'm getting pretty nervous.