Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This morning the alarm came much too early. I drug myself out of bed to see to two hungry children pacing the floors. I quickly sprouted another pair of arms and at the same time I: made coffee, made a bowl of cereal, heated up a breakfast burrito, threw some laundry in the dryer, signed two agendas, chewed out my son for not listening in class, and listened to the morning conference call with my phone of mute and speaker from the counter in the kitchen. My kids are used to hearing words like "brain dead", "trauma", "IPD, SDH" and "withdrawing care". Its almost as common to them as Sponge Bob saying "I want a crabby pattie!". Are they traumatized from it? No. Unless you call yelling at the other kids in the neighborhood to wear their helmets or they will be ''organ donors''. I am thinking I dont mind being on call today, I have had some time off. Went camping with the family, have had to time to regroup myself, drank far too much etoh and ate too much bad food, but it felt good. My younger son and I went mountain bike riding about 5 miles, he hung tough the whole way and found it incredibly fun on the downhill path back until a bump came up and threw him face first into the dirt, making him bleed on his lip and elbow. But he was ok, he says to me "good thing I had my helmet on mom!" I am thinking, uh yeah... This job makes you paranoid, as I have said before...

I am about ready to head home from the city if things stay the way they are, knock, knock.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

See how I feel?

My kids both went to a NYE all night party and had a blast. NY day morning as they stumbled in the front door, dark rings under their eyes, their feet barely leaving the ground... I laughed to myself... Time for some education! After I listened to the "Mom I'm so tired, mom let me go!" cries, I made them pause and evaluate for jsut a moment how they felt. I said "Now tell me how you feel right now." I got a variety of answers, and whining with it. I said to them "Now, right now how you feel, is how mom feels when she works all night and comes home from work." They both just looked at me and trudged off to the bedroom. It was a sort of mini revenge for me... :)
I never made it home last night. After I visited the hospital that paged me, I got another call from the county hosital. The patient I had see earlier in the evening was very unstable. The resident tells me that if we want to give the family any option for donation, I needed to hurry on over. So I finished up and drove a fast 10 min to the hosital. Funny thing was, he was more stable than earlier in the evening, but the family had made him a DNR. It was a tragic situation for the whole family, a member of them being responsible for the injury. So sad that now so many people will be affected.
I pulled mom and 3 siblings into a small conference room. I wanted to much to take this mothers pain away from her and hoped what I had to say would lessen it even just 1%. I would feel successful if it was even 1%. I told her he could save up to 8 lives. I watched her face light up, her eyes opened wider and she sat up straiter. I had given her some hope, I could see that, so I continued. They all agreed he would want that, but they wanted to wait for his dad to arrive.
Today he is going to save people, I slept and am now awake and another coordinator is there continuing the case. As tired as I am, I love doing this. Makes me have faith in the world, amazement that people still possess generosity for those they have never met at the worse possible time of their lives. I believe that a mom who gives her son to help others when she is greiving so is such a hero, more so than anyone who may be labeled that. He gift is so unselfish, so selfless, so not for personal glory. Even after 4 years it never fails to move me like this.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years Day

All is quiet on New Year's Day.
A world in white gets underway.
I want to be with you, be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.On New Year's Day.

Except there is no world in white, just brown today with some red here and there. And all is not totally quiet, though its just been referals today. One thing is, things do change new years day, neuro assessments for one.
I traveled around the city this morning, my first stop a hospital 10 min away. This isn't a place we have done many donors at, actually 1 to be specific. But they keep trying to their credit. Now if they would just understand that if someone breathes on their own, their brain works. Its black and white. Dead, or not dead. You either breath or you dont. Simple right? No. Not even for educated individuals, nurses and doctors included to understand. Sometimes I wonder how these people get their medical degrees and pass their state boards. So the patient I see is a young girl. I listen outside the room as the neurologist talks to the mother. She is overbreathing the vent and flexes, I know she isn't brain dead. He comes out and the charge RN and pts nurse ask if he is going to do brain death testing... oh jeez. We both explain that if the pt is breathing, no testing, no point. Blank stares... ohhh jeez. I also spend 30 minutes in the break room educating another nurse to that fact because she was frustrated over another pt that couldn't donate because they weren't brain dead. I told her there are things we dont compromise on, and thats one of them. We dont declare pts brain dead when they are still breathing. Simple right? No... apparently not. Sigh sigh double sigh.
I leave and journey NW to the big hospitals who's nurses understand somewhat more, but sometimes not. Things are crazy all over, I see a wife crying over her husband who collapsed taking xmas decorations down, I see a mom by her son's bedside praying. He was beat up last night at a party...
I come home and look at my kids, my oldest is told about the young kid, drinking, at a party, a normal child, but somehow I hope by telling him these things he will be somewhat unnormal...I dont know. I hope and pray everyday I am not that mom, or wife for that matter. Collateral damage from this job happens every day to me.
I just ate at my parents, about ready to head home and I get a page. The lady has cancer and I feel bad because I am happy I dont have to go. I'm so horrible sometimes, lord bless the starving pigmys in new guinney. oh no, the same hospital just paged me back, I was lucky once, but usually not twice.