Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Waiting

Have I mentioned how much of my job involves WAITING for things to happen? I was out all day yesterday for a woman who wasn't quite brain dead. But the hospital was an hour away and I knew once I got home I'd be called out again. So I waited. Then I had respiratory check on her respiratory drive every once in awhile. Not breathing over the vent. Call the doctor. Wait for him to call back. Try and convince him that just because the monitor says she overbreathing the vent, doesn't mean she really is...honest. Take her off the vent and see, no breathing. Then I waited for them to do the first brain death clinical. Doctor finally shows up to do it. "But she's breathing over the vent, see the monitor?"

Finally he does the clinical exam. No apnea test. He wants to do the apnea test with the second clinical. I'm still waiting for family to arrive from out of state. Some peripheral family comes in...maybe the legal next of kin is coming in, maybe not. So we wait some more.

I call Neuro to say we've done the first clinical. He's says he's rounding and he'll be by soon. 2 hours later he shows up. "Hey, she's still breathing over the vent. Did you look at the monitor." I patiently explain that if you look at the patient and not the monitor, you'll see she's not breathing on her own. He wants an apnea test now, to be sure. Then he leaves with no further instructions. We page the medical resident and tell him neuro wants an apnea test. He says he'll be over, "in a bit." I go to the lounge, which has a huge window. I try not to walk out on the ledge and jump.

A couple more hours and no resident. We call him again. This time he tells me he's not qualified to do an apnea. I assure him that he is indeed qualified to see if a persons chest is rising and falling or not. He refuses. I call neuro back and tell him the resident won't do it. He curses some then says, "well, we'll do it in the morning." Like we originally planned to do. Aaarrgghh!!!!!

I have been out all day, woken at 04:59 and now it's now 23:00. I disengage for the night, someone will come onsite in the morning to talk with the family. The most frustrating thing is that I feel like I did NOTHING all day.

Today, I get called out to another hospital. I won't go into all the details...but I will say that the family said they be back at 21:00. And the time stamp of this post is.....

1 comment:

amanda said...

I recently found your blog through the "magic" of clicking links from other blogs. Your blog sounded interesting, since I'm a nurse at a transplant center but have never had extensive conversation with any of our transplant coordinators about their job.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with this post, but I saw a promo for a new show that is to be on TNT this summer. It is called "Heartland" and looks to be about a transplant surgeon whose ex-wife is an organ recovery coordinator. I'm wondering how good/accurate THAT will be, but also if it is something you would "check out".

Thanks for putting a "different spin" on the issue of organ donation. I really don't think I could do your job, but that's the beauty of nursing--there is something for everyone!