Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why do patients die at Christmas time.

I'm casual. Not surprisingly I work a lot of shifts around holidays when everyone else would like some time off. Unfortunately I am working way too much. I have 8 shifts in 10 days. I am exhausted. Also I have lost my voice.

Anyway. Several of our long term patients passed away. And that's totally depressing. It's like they had just the amount of energy to make it to Christmas time. One in particular had been on our pulmonary unit for months, waiting for a lung transplant. Unfortunately it never came.  Her CO2 just started climbing and there was nothing we could do about it.

On Christmas eve I was called to the hospice, an area which we normally do not service. One of our patients who had recently moved over to the hospice from our wards was having difficulties with oxygenation. I sorted it out as best as I could (which involved moving the patient to a new room, and about 7 more pages that day) and promised to come back the next day to say Merry Christmas! The next day I was merrily wandering in when the nurse stopped me and gave me the bad news.

Luckily on one of our other units everyone pitched in to buy a chronic vent patient who actually lives at the hospital a hockey jersey of his favorite team. It is now his singly worldly possession. So that cheered me immensely.

Thank god.

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