Tempus Fugit

Time Flies…

   Oct 31

Breakfast Voyeurism

“BiPAP” is not a common word outside of intensive care units.

Consequently when it is used in two unrelated breakfast conversations at the same cafe it’s somewhat intriguing. Oh okay not really – but cause for comment. Which I have just done….commented that is, on the events of this morning…

Last night was my first night in ICU. I survived – and so did all the patients – remarkably — and I do mean remarkably.

I walked in last night to be told by the day P-HO that I was in for a busy night. Fortunately it wasn’t busy. Just the awkward task of removing ventilatory support from a patient with umpteen tearful relatives surrounding the comatose patient. The patient was not expected to make the night.

That being done, the rest of the night was unremarkable. It’s amazing how soothing it is to sit and watch the hypnotic squiggles of various bodily parameters zip …or mosey (as the case may be) across the monitors with the background hiss of ventilators and the occasional mellow alarm (as if the monitor was trying to say “terribly sorry to bother you old chap but this patient has a mean arterial pressure – MAP – of 59, perhaps you’d like to look into it…there’s a good lad, no rush, so awfully sorry to have bothered you”).

The most taxing post-ventilator-withdrawal event of the evening was solving the last few crossword clues of the mega crossword one of the nurses was working on. Who would have guessed an Ocarina is a terracotta wind instrument.

One of the other patients was a tad loopy and it was somewhat humourous to hear him first of all offer to make room for one of the nurses to join him in his bed, and then to tell us all he was taking a bath with six gorgeous young lasses.

It’s a bit bizzare sleeping on the job but apparently it’s quite accepted – all the nurses took it in turns to snooze in the isolation rooms and so I grabbed a quick 3 hours in the education room. Unventilated CTD patient was amazingly still alive when I woke – she had sats of 67 percent – and looked somewhat cyanotic.

…and so post-handover, I find myself sitting at a coffee shop eating a good helping of the old favourite – EB. I had a call from a friend and I was relaying the events of the evening – hence the use of the word BiPAP. Not five minutes later, the conversation at the next table mentions the use of BiPAP – apparently a group of interns discussing patients from a different hospital. It seems I can’t escape the grip of healthcare not even when enjoying a cup of coffee. Still it was amusing to listen to the conversation.

The remainder of my breakfast was spent watching other cafe patrons – particularly the guy trying who was preening himself in front of the woman sitting nearby – it looked particularly blatantly obvious what he was doing….not sure if she was deliberately ignoring it, or being blissfully ignorant of his valiant attempts to gain her attention.

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