Sunday, March 3, 2013
A Day in the Life of an Anesthesiologist
For the past five days I have felt a gentle insistence to write about my life; what I do in the day-to-day is important for some reason. I know there are a lot of health care politics out there these days. So here is an example in my life, and how I live, to earn what I do to support myself and my family. I am a single parent and I am fortunate to have a career where I can support us entirely 100% on my own.
The alarm goes of at 4:20 a.m. Most times I hit the snooze button. I hit that button so often I have gerry-rigged my clock to be about twenty minutes ahead. That way, when it all evens out, I am on time.
I go straight to the computer. Sometimes in when I get a 'message' in the form of words that I hear upon waking up, I take a few minutes to write them down. I have had journals by the bedside for most of my life. There are trunks filled with them, and also with poetry, that I have made my whole life.
You know what I do on here. Time flies. It goes by with joy and heartfelt love for 'keeping up' and 'blogging' the way I do. It is my service to others.
Unfortunately, I do not get compensation for this at all! Not in any way whatsoever!
I go downstairs and pack lunches. One for me, and for the kids. I organize whatever equipment needs to go to school for the day. Swim bag? Martial art? Jacket? I put everything that is important on the floor by the kitchen door so I will trip over it on my way out. Otherwise I forget things that may be important. There is no way to come back when I am at work. My sitter has a key, but she lives far away, and gas is expensive. So only for emergencies is she available to pick up forgotten things.
Then I prepare breakfast. That is a little loud to start to wake the kids--it is not easy; I dread this part most of all. I go downstairs and take care of the pets. They are louder than the kitchen. And then I take care of my getting ready. I dress for efficiency. Five minutes late, or if I am on L&D, the makeup is skipped. Sometimes I take a shower, but not always. My skin is delicate so I have to skip a day to let it rest.
Then I brace myself. The kids are sound asleep and hate to wake up. I have to dress them. It is physical work and tiresome for me. They are old enough to dress themselves, but it would take forever, and I have to go. I raise the threat of 'my being late' many times each morning. I comb the hair and put on their shoes. We never tie them. It's a long story but has more to do with their feet than anything else.
We eat. We have ten minutes awake together at home. That's it. I load the car as soon as I am done, and coax them into the car.
Sometimes I offer to stop by the donut shop when I wake them up. Then the day goes a lot smoother for all of us. It is on the way to school, and then I don't have to cook.
The children are at school any time between 6:30 a.m. and 6:43. I must make it to the O.R. where they see my face by 7:10. I drive fast, yet I pray. This is when I send the healings. I send them from my car. The Reiki and DPH relax me, and I start my day thinking of something good.
I look for a spot in the Doctor's parking lot which is filled with cars from nurses who work at night. They get off at 7:20, and I arrive at 7:10.
I look for my lanyard with the red maple leaves on it, with my badge. No badge, no get in any doors. It's that simple. I throw it around my neck, take my bag, lunch, and walk in to the hospital.
My day actually has started the night before when I get an email with my assignment. I know first case surgeon, the start time, and the length estimate for my day. Tomorrow, the estimate is around 19:30, but someone is supposed to relieve me for the last case. I must line up help to pick the kids up from school. I also think about the complexity of the case and the anesthesia plan for it well in advance.
I go to the machine and take out my key, then to the lock boxes and take out my metal box with my narcotics in it. I stop by the locker room, and then head to my O.R.
Tomorrow I think I am in O.R. 5. I greet the team and set up like lightning fast. I ask the circulator RN about the patient as I set up. I look through the chart on the computer, greet the patient, and give my okay to take them into the O.R.
After 7:30 I get dinged if they are not in the room. By 7:35 they must be unconscious and my work all complete. If there is invasive monitoring, I have twenty minutes to insert my lines. As the patient is prepared for surgery, I give antibiotics, antiemetics, and adjust the anesthesia for patient comfort.
Then I chart. I put information into the computer. I write orders for patient care while they are in PACU. I fill out the little pharmacy billing sheet. I chart on paper and record the entire case.
I barely have time to think. (My billing slips for my charges pile up, and only on long slow cases do I catch up with my personal paperwork.)
My surgeons are so fast they want a quick turnover between cases. So that is how I gain speed--while taking care of the one patient, who is 99% of the time, stable, I watch them and set up for my next case. I assemble syringes with needles, label them, and fill them with the drugs I select for the case. I also look in the computer at the chart on the next patient, fill out a pre-anesthesia consult form part way, and pend it.
Then it is time to wake the patient up, take them to PACU, give report, and walk to pre-op to start again. I rarely get a break. I often take some graham crackers that are available, and coffee. At lunch which is from 11:00 to 14:00 in the Doctors' Lounge there is food. It is downstairs. It takes a while to go and get it. So that is why I bring my lunch. It is easier for me to eat my own food, when I can, in between cases. If it wasn't for the nurses 'bringing a patient in slow' I would not have time to eat at all.
When do I give Reiki? In the longer cases when the other tasks are done. I pay attention to the anesthesia/blood pressure/heart rate/oxygen saturation/EKG, ventilator, and surgical case the entire time I am giving Reiki. Often I am interrupted. For me, Reiki flows FAST, and clear, and I can tell when the patient has had 'enough'. It is sort of like in flight-refueling with the supersonic jets, when I think about it...
The hardest part of my day is around three in the afternoon. That is when I make the final arrangements for the person to pick up the kids or not and let me go home and do it. It is an art because many cases that present to the ER are squeezed in and booked at this time of day. All of my support system--who is wonderful--know that my timing can be really unpredictable. A patient can do poorly, the surgery can be challenging, or another one can come in. As a result I never tell the children when I am coming home unless I am in the car. It is their anger, hurt, and disappointment that pains me the most.
Sometimes I come home so late that they are in their pajamas at the sitters, having had a bath. I have to walk them to the car, and coax them up the stairs at home. (I don't have a nanny dedicated--there are a lot of reasons, but the most important one is that I want to be the one raising them.)
Dinner is however we can get it. When I cook, I enjoy it. Often times, however, if I am late I have to skip that meal and get the kids and myself to bed.
I do not watch the news or shows on television. There is not time. The kids like to watch TIVO'd shows or movies on instant downloads online while I do my chores.
Bath time is my favorite time of day. I laugh and I play with the children as I help them wash up and forget about all the rest. Today I wore a dog mitten washcloth and named it Sugar Ray the Boxer. They loved it and asked for more of my 'being the dog'. Story time is my next favorite time. I stay with the kids until they are asleep. Then I get my second wind. I go on here for a while, and then I head back to my own bed.
My room is my sanctuary. I have it 'arranged' with lots of healing 'things', for example crystals, to support me and remind me of why I came to Gaia in the first place. My prized possession is a small Wyland genuine sculpture of a mother humpback and her calf. I fall asleep easily, and sleep through the night. I do not dream.
And the morning arrives always too soon!
Spirit wants you to know me as a human. As a Spirit that is embodied in the flesh, just like you. And that YOU are soon going to be able to accomplish amazing things with your birthright, your aura and all that it is capable of, in a matter of months and weeks, not in years and decades like it used to be before December 21, 2012. Drink lots of water, stay close to Nature, and be alone somewhat as you adjust to your 'new skills' which are far from 'new'--they are things you had forgotten, like finding a wonderful pair of shoes again in the closet after a long time of not wearing them. They were your favorite shoes, the best-looking and also the most comfortable. God wants you to enjoy wearing your 'shoes' again.