Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Another patient died this morning. He arrived on this weekend's aerovac.

I'm tired.

I have spent the last two evenings escaping into sleep because I did not want to deal with anything and didn't want to think about anything. I have such rage inside me. I drove home from work today too fast for rainy day conditions. As I drove I alternated between being pissed off at the person in front of me for driving too slow and pissed off at the person behind me for following too close. Arriving home I slipped on my running gear and headed out but not even 45 minutes of a good, hard run followed by an hour long pilates class could dampen this rage burning inside me.

I have so many things to do at work and no one to share the load. Tonight I find myself not wanting to go back tomorrow, to call out sick, not show up, disappear for a day, anything but go back. But in the end I will crawl out of bed and return because there are too many who depend on me.

I want to talk but there is no one to listen. I walked down the hall with one of my former patients who asked me what was wrong and in telling him I was having a bad day I learned so was he. I learned his prothesis didn't fit right and his leg was hurting him. It's hard to complain about your bad day to a guy like that. But still I wanted to. I want to talk with someone who understands what it's like to take care of these guys and gals but I can't seem to find anyone. I want to scream "will someone just listen to ME? Will someone just help ME?"

I'm so tired.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And Still They Die

I don't even know where to begin; I think the "denial" stage of grief has a tight hold on me. Thursday as I was talking with one of my patients he died. This young, handsome, intelligent man with a kind and gentle heart looked at me and said, "my chest hurts" and died. I stood there talking with him, laughing one moment and the next yelling for help, grabbing the ambu bag and mask and fitting it over his nose and mouth. Frantically checking for a pulse, squeezing the bag to force air into his lungs, I ordered the nursing staff to bring the code cart and call a code blue.

It was a comedy of errors watching these nurses who rarely work on patients in cardiac arrest. Ordering one of them to oxygenate my patient, another to begin CPR I hurriedly hooked him up to the heart monitor and wanted to kick, scream and sob when I read it's tracings. Shoving my emotions down deep I worked, clearing staff from the bedside, laying pads on his chest I shocked him, I pushed emergency drugs and prayed my team members would soon arrive.

People began to flood into the room, as I relayed what had occurred my team moved into place. Someone secured a better airway, another took over administering medications, we shocked him, compressed his chest all of us knowing it was in vain. The tracings on the heart monitor gave us no hope but still we worked. As group of people dedicated to our wounded warriors we looked in each other’s eyes and saw helplessness.

How can we, those trained for this, fail this soldier? We didn't want to fail, our pace feverish we compressed and shocked and medicated for almost 2 hours. Two hours we tried every medical technique we knew to save him. Two hours when we knew from the very beginning nothing we did would make any difference.

I sit here now and the "woulda, coulda, shoulda's" run through my mind. Even the knowledge my patient had a massive pulmonary embolism doesn't make it any easier. See, I've grown accustomed to watching these guys and gals get better and move on with their lives. I've grown accustomed to watching them go home not to the morgue.

Once again my heart breaks and I am helpless.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Days Like This

It's days like today that make me wonder if anyone cares about the staff. The VIP's come and shower gifts and wonderful words upon the wounded troops but ignore the staff who care for them. Mangagement will call you into the office and you hear nothing but what is bad and how your staff aren't doing their jobs. When does anyone say "you did a GOOD job"?? When do the VIP's recognize our hearts break along with the families and the amputees whose lives are forever changed? Does anyone give a hoot that many of my collegues have Combat Stress and/or PTSD? Do people understand OUR lives are forever changed with what we see and deal with?

And while I'm on my very "non Clara like" rant let me tell you about this! I've been trying to do a good thing. There are a couple of awesome books on combat stress and PTSD that I've been buying to give out to wounded troops and families who I feel may benefit from them. Well, it gets a little expensive even with the amazon.com discount, not that I'm complaining I'm really happy to do it. So anyway, I called the publisher to see if they would help me, they never called me back. Then I get called on the carpet and had my ass chewed for handing out the books in the first place. Some days make absolutely no sense! Try and do a good thing and look where it gets ya! Yep, days like this make me shake my head in disgust!