Saturday, July 20, 2013

Walk With Me: Meals On First Call In The O.R.

For twenty-four hours, the buck stops here.

Ever think about what you doctor eats? And are they hungry? How many hours have they been at work?

Here is a sample from my last twenty-four hour First Call O.R. Anesthesia work shift:

Breakfast at home and packed lunches:

  • crepes with nutella (my boy) and with marron (chestnut spread, for me)
  • orange juice and black Peet's Anniversary Blend coffee
  • vitamins
  • turkey sandwich on Milton's bread, Lay's BBQ chips (his request at the store--very rare to have in our home), baby carrots, banana, organic cherries, water
  • sprout jar, leftover ratatouille, bottles of oil and balsamic vinegar, heirloom tomato, RAW spirulina dream bar, banana.
0806-1056 I did a case, one very long case with no breaks.

'Lunch' between 1057 and 1111:
  • I negotiate with nurse to 'bring patient in slow' while I get free veggie burger from special event at work. I go to wrong spot, realize I missed by 'spot', run to my locker and eat a banana and a handful of macadamia nuts. No water.

1112- 1249 I did another case, with no breaks.

Lunch between 1250 and 1259:

  • I run to food truck, take a veggie burger with no cheese. I put condiments on it. I pass on the chips and take a bottle of water. For five minutes I sit with people I don't recognize but have badges and look like they work in an office. One may have been my patient. I get a phone call from the front desk at the main O.R., asking 'if I knew about the one o'clock case'. I state I did, GI knows, and I will be up there in three minutes.
1300-1415 I do two cases, back to back, with no breaks. I did, however, drink some of my bottle of water I had in my pocket (these were remote location outside of the O.R. and I had it between cases.)

Snack between 1416 and 1458 ( I also set up for a long case, saw the patient, and wrote orders for a PCA for patient 1 who was going through narcotics like, fast!)
  • I smile when I see the Corner Bakery trays in the nurses lounge. I eat grapes and strawberries, mustard 'toast' (two half pieces) and two 'brownie cubes'. I am very happy to 'score' this! I cup water too.
1459-1900 I am in on one case, no breaks.

'Dinner' between 1901 and 1909:
  • Cold ratatouille is eaten as fast as humanly possible in front of my surgeon who is pushing for a 'fast turnover'. He has been delayed for an hour due to the surgeon with me before having a complex difficult case. This surgeon PUSHED THE OR TABLE out of the room (patient was prone, flipped to bed) while I was waking up the patient. He needed it for his case in another room. I ate like an animal. My friend, the ENT saw me, and said quietly, 'you eat when you can, don't you?' I nodded yes. (all of this food was in my locker in the doctor's lounge, right down the hall, where I couldn't eat.) I left with a spirulina bar in my pocket just in case the case went long.
1910-2129 a final case of the day, no breaks.

'Late Night Snack' with O.R. staff at the free event for Night Shift:
  • veggie burger, no cheese, plain potato chips, and a bottle of water. We actually had conversation and enjoyed a meal together, myself and two coworkers from the O.R.

Can you work like this?

Is it healthy?

Everywhere I used to work, when I was in training, we had two fifteen minute breaks, and one thirty minute one for lunch. If we were sleepy, we could ask another back-up anesthesiologist to 'step in' while we went to the coffee machine and bought a cup.

In private practice, plastics, I either ate a sandwich in the O.R. or stepped just outside the door during a case and watched the monitors as I ate my sandwich. It was understood that food was needed by all members of the team. One surgeon even paused, went to the door, and had his wife feed him under the mask when it was time for lunch.

Why is it we are depriving our physicians, nurses, and hospital staff meals, bathroom breaks, and time for exercise and family connection?

Is it for money?

Is it to prove we are superhuman?

Is it for efficiency?

Is it to beat us down psychologically so we will not fight back?

I think it is all of the above. I have spoken with my people. I have been told to buy granola bars and nuts. And not to complain. To take it, and not complain when I am hungry. That my suffering 'keeps the surgeons happy' because the cases move and they bring more business to us. They don't understand that the 'hour turnover' when they are in the doctor's lounge includes important safety features for the instruments, equipment, and anesthesia for their patients. Sometimes we only get five minutes between cases after all of this work is done.

I want you to ponder this. From the inside of Health Care. These are the facts from one day.

Remember all I have shared with you about 'Self-Love' and 'Filling Your Cup'? Work like this makes it difficult, but not impossible to do. 

Time keeps accelerating--the passage of it is growing faster--until it is going to STOP in the eternal Here and Now moment. Energetically, that is what is going on with our world as we know it. 

So hang in there! If you are busy, do what you can, and give yourself first and foremost time to enjoy nature and rest. It will energize you more than other things. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water (not from the tap!) It will help you anchor the new energies of Light into your Light body.

Aloha and Namaste,

Reiki Doc