Anna (hellga) wrote,

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ICU is a blend of everything - cardiology, infectious disease, trauma, overdoses... and a good lesson on how NOT to live one's life. A few stories, alternating between second and third person, follow to illustrate.

Example 1. Wear your seatbelt.
A 29 year old girl is now paralyzed from the waist down because she didn't wear her seatbelt and drove 65 mph on an icy bridge. Yeah. Had she died, she would have had it easy. Now she faces decades of being confined to a wheelchair, subject to constant, unrelenting back pain (what do you want if you have fractures in 15+ vertebral disks), incontinence (both urinary and stool) which leads to catheters that lead to frequent, painful UTIs, a lot of bills and crushed dreams and not a lot of fun.

Example 2. Smoking catches up to you.
If you smoke 5 packs a day (is there even enough time in a day to smoke that much?) for sixty years, what's supposed to be your golden years turns into monthly visits to the hospital with a few days' stay each, and being unable to move more than 5 feet without running out of breath. Going to the bathroom, fixing a meal - everything is a chore.

Example 3. Your veins aren't there just for fun.
IV drug use lead to bacterial colonization of the heart valves, so the 40-year old man looks twice that age, cannot do anything without the machines, and the cardiology and the neurology argue back and forth whether the surgery or lack of it is going to kill him sooner.

Example 4. Pain is your friend. Listen to it. Ignoring an abdominal pain in a 54 year old woman led to necrotic bowel, led to emergency surgery, led to pulmonary edema and her condition is deteriorating every hour.

Example 5. Did your mom tell you to floss?
Apparently, this 27 year old's mom didn't tell her to brush and floss her teeth. She developed a dental abscess, which is by itself unpleasant and painful. For her, it went so bad before she showed up, that it went through her bone and she had to be brought in for surgery. THe bacteria managed to get into her blood in such numbers, she went into the septic shock. It is now her second week in the intensive care. Dental problems CAN kill you.

Example 6. "Oh, they will feel bad when I die!"
Darn right you are, they will. Just not "they" you have in mind. A 25 year old whose boyfriend dumped her overdosed on what? On Tylenol. The cheap, accessible, trusty old Tylenol, so conveniently sold in the 500 count bottles. By the time she was found and brought to the hospital, her liver was chewed up so badly, there wasn't anything to save. That led to cerebral edema and she was shown to have ZERO blood flow to her brain, and was taken off life support within 48 hours of admission. Don't hope they will save you taking this pills... Now a five year old and a four month old are going to cry for their mommy and no one is going to come.

ICU keeps me so busy with preparing for rounds, rounding, reading up for discussions, having discussions and following up on patients that I have barely any time to prepare for interviews at the Midyear. AND I am sleeping about 4.5-5 hours a night. Rutgers still haven't replied to me. I mean, it's not as sad as the state of my patients, but still. It's a pity they have a couple programs I am interested in the most, otherwise I would simply drop them from my list. I am not accustomed to being slighted.
Tags: pharmacy tales, rotations, smarts
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