Around the corner, I heard a soft, but labored, panting.
Curious, I walked into my patient’s room to find him breathing rapidly. I took his vital signs: blood pressure was a little high, pulse ok, temperature ok. His respirations were fast, but his oxygen saturation was 100%.
Normally, when I call a doctor to report a patient’s worsening condition, I’m ahead of the game. If my patient’s short of breath, I hook them up to oxygen. If they have ‘as needed’ medications available, I give them. If he’s aspirating (choking on fluids), I raise the
head of the bed, I shove a yankauer in their mouth and suction the crap
But this time, I was empty handed. Continue reading
Remembering & Looking Forward. (Hong Kong, 2013)
After hearing some news today, I felt like flinging my gloves in the trash.
Not in an angry manner, but in a different way…
~ ~ ~
August 4, 2005
“I can’t find a pulse…” he said, with urgency in his voice. The nurse was scrambling around the bedside trying to get the patient to respond.
“YOU NEED TO START CPR, it doesn’t matter Continue reading
September 12, 2012
“Once you decide on your occupation…you must immerse yourself in your work.
You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job.
You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.
That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.”
– Jiro Ono
The greatest sushi chef in the world, Jiro, in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, works relentlessly to master his skill. Everyday, for the past 70 years, he has committed to making sushi that tastes better than the sushi he made the day before.
How much of my own life have I dedicated to mastering my skill?
For 12 years, I played piano. Continue reading
In honor of Veteran’s Day, reposting an old blog post that includes a vignette of one of my patients.
For all those who have served our country.. a sincerest thank you.
~ ~ ~
April 9, 2010
He glanced out the window, then looked at me. “I’m 92. I’ve been through a lot.”
He began to story tell. “It was winter time, and I was stationed in Europe during World War II. At night, we wore all of our gear and slept in the trenches. They were these deep, buried holes in the Earth. I thought it was going to be cold, but that first night, it was rather warm. Then in the morning, I emerged from my trench, and Continue reading
A frozen Charles River
The city skyline twinkled in the deep, dark night. Its light reflected upon the icy waters of the Atlantic.
En route to work, my car scurried around snowbanks from February’s fury. I rushed into the hospital to receive handoff from the off going nurse.
“He’s very fascinating, if you get a chance to chat with him,” my co-nurse reported during shift change. “But the main thing is to watch his breathing. And his wound.”
I scribbled notes and stuffed them into my pocket. “Got it.”
~ ~ ~
His gray hair seemed like it had just been combed. He leaned against a stack of pillows. His skin and lips were pink; his breathing fine. He gave a gentle nod. “Hello.”
I checked his vital signs. “How are you feeling? Any pain?”
“Actually…” he hesitated. Continue reading
all we had. cambodia, 2010.
At first, I didn’t see her. She was her husband’s shadow, following him closely from behind.
His chest heaved, and his neck muscles retracted, as he fought for air.
Please help my husband, her eyes pleaded. She fidgeted beside his bed.
His skin pale, his lips faded to a blue grey. “ហត់ចង់ងប់ (I’m so tired, I could die),” he panted.
We were losing time. Continue reading
Several years ago.
Knock Knock. I opened the hospital room door to check on my patient.
The bed was empty.
Oh no… Continue reading