The Price You Pay

“Now you can’t walk away from the price you pay” Bruce Springsteen, The Price You Pay…..I was called in at 2:30 a.m. recently for an aortic dissection. Seems like no one ever dissects in the middle of the day. When Dr. Newsome walked into the room he looked at me and said, ” it seems like we’ve done a few of these over the years.” Indeed we have…these cases are generally long and difficult. There is a feeling you get at the beginning of the case, usually around the time when you first see the patient, when you realize that you are more than likely going to be there anywhere from 8 to 12 hours or longer. It’s kind of a sinking feeling, especially if you had something planned that you were hoping to do, but the feeling recedes and you go about your business doing what must be done. It is a wonderful thing to be part of doing something that prolongs someone’s life. We are also financially compensated for what we do. But it comes with a price. It is a very surrealistic feeling to be driving home on a sunny Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. after being at the hospital since 3 a.m. People are out enjoying life, surfing, riding bikes, going out to eat, whatever else they might enjoy, and all you want to do is make it home and fall into your bed. Basically, you have given up a day of your life. Which, at this stage, is not an infinite supply. It takes a toll on your body also. You feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. Everything hurts, and it’s usually a couple of days before you start to feel like yourself again. That being said, I can’t really complain as the scrub tech for the case was the amazing Ann McCullough who seems to have twice the endurance and stamina of someone half her age. Plus I got to spend the day with Drs Stahl, Wang and Newsome as well as Danny and Chad….priceless…oh yeah, at the end of the day when everyone was leaving Danny congratulated Chad on doing such a great job and said he would take call with him anytime. Seems like a small thing but the smile on Chads face told me it meant a lot to him. Things like that are why Danny is such a great person to work with…..

Nurses Week

Here’s why I love our nurses so much….. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have seen them do or heard about something that they had to do where I said to myself, “Why would anybody want to be a nurse?” They get to do the dirty work, that’s for sure. Patient caregiver, advocate, educator, mentor, shoulder to cry on, bridge between physician and patients families, they wear many hats, to say the least. The ability to multi-task isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. As is the need to have eyes in the back of your head. Here in the O.R.    the nurse is in charge of the room. They have to keep an eye on and help the surgeon, anesthesiologist, scrub tech, and other ancillary personnel. They have to use the computer to chart. The phone rings, guess who answers it? The doctors pager goes off while scrubbed, who do you think takes care of that? All this while keeping an eye on the patient at all times. Consider the Intensive Care Unit nurses. They get to take care of critically ill patients with multiple invasive lines, multiple drips, and other assorted life support devices. The doctor drops by to talk to the family, who don’t really understand much of what’s going on. Guess who gets to try and unravel the mystery for them? After spending 12 hours a day with these people trying not to get too attached to them( unfortunately not all outcomes are good) then it’s time to go home and take care of your own family. Next day, repeat the process….like I said earlier” Why would anybody want to be a nurse?” I’m not sure I know the answer for that but I know I’m glad you did. You are truly the backbone of our hospital, happy Nurses Week to each and every one of you…..

Mother’s Day

Thirty years ago I married a mother. While this certainly doesn’t make me an expert on them I have learned a thing or two over the years. When I met this particular mother she was raising 4 children while going to school and working. I was riding my bike and running a lot. She was all about other people. I was all about me. That’s a mom for you, though. They will do anything for their kids. Their own interests always come after everyone else’s. t dinner time they always make sure everybody else has enough before they serve themselves. First person in the kitchen, last one out. Moms make holidays special. They stay up late to hide Easter eggs, stuff turkeys, and even if Santa has fallen asleep they are up late filling stockings. They get up early to get green bagels on St. Patrick’s day before the bagel shop runs out of them. Midnight Mass, no problem. Easter sunrise, she’s there. I don’t think anyone sleeps less than a mom. I know nobody gives more. So for all this we give them a day each year. It hardly seems enough. Once upon a time there was something known as a stay at home mom. These days, however, they get to do all these wonderful things after working all day…..or night, as the case may be. Then there’s the single mom, who not only works while being a mom but doubles as dad, too. As if being a mom wasn’t enough….So here’s to all our departments Mothers, you have my respect and admiration not just this day but every day……Tom Precht