Sunday, 20 April 2014

Just Like Riding a Bike!

Slowly but surely, I have been adding a little more work to my schedule.  When I first started back in November, Finley was only five and a half months old.  I was tired and I was overwhelmed every day.  Between pumping milk, feeding Finley, getting food ready, seeing patients, doing paperwork, spending some time with Finley before bed, putting Finley to bed, making dinner, doing more paperwork, I was pretty much spoken-for every minute of the day.  I started to write a blog post about it, titled "Working 5-9", but it was a pretty whiny post, so I didn't publish it.

Life is still busy, make no mistake!  But most days & most weeks, for the most-part, we have some sense of order and control.  I don't feel overwhelmed all the time.  It helps that Finley is older, that Derek is a huge help & support,  and that we have an awesome part-time nanny.  I get to spent lots of time with Finley, but I also get some nice breaks for skiing, bike rides, blogging, going for dates with Derek.  In other words, the sort of stuff that keeps me sane!

Beautiful day on Blackcomb!
Ski day with Dad

Recently I ramped up my work a little by doing my first ER shift in over a year.  I stopped working in the ER in March last year, around 32 weeks pregnant.  My back & feet were aching by the end of the day & my belly was getting so big I wondered if I could do CPR if I needed to!  I was pretty nervous about starting up again.  The ER in our town is unpredictable - some shifts can be super quiet with very few visits, or visits that are more suitably called "urgent care" versus actual emergencies.  Sore throats, stitches etc.  But we live along a busy highway, so we see car accidents, and lots of skiing, biking, sledding, & other sports-related accidents too.   On weekends we get our share of bar fights & issues related to over-indulgences, if you know what I mean.  Then, like all hospitals, we see heart attacks, strokes, and other medical emergencies.  You never know what you'll get, & there's no telling what kind of a shift you might be in for.  After a year out of the ER, I wondered how I'd cope with the pace & the acuity of patients.  "Don't worry, it's just like riding a bike!" one of my nursing friends told me.  Maybe so, but was it going to be like riding a cruiser to the beach, or riding my mountain bike down Goat's Gully in the pouring rain, bouncing over rocks & slippery wet roots?  Obviously, I hoped for the former!

"Just like riding a bike??"  oh, great!

As the shift approached, my nervousness seemed to reduce.  I was scheduled for a night shift, and previously I would have spent the whole day dreading it.  But I spent the day with Finley & Derek and didn't really think about the shift until it was almost time to go.  One thing about having a baby is that you definately have to live in the moment.  And when I knew I'd spend the night away from him, I wanted to really enjoy my day with my family.

Happy little guy!

Finley takes in the view

At 6pm I arrived at the hospital, gear in hand.  When I do night shifts I always bring my own pillow & Throckmorton; IF I get to sleep, these two creature comforts are a huge help to me!  The nurses always tease me when I arrive with my pillow, & they don't even know I've got a teddy bear too!  I also bring lots of food, especially healthy snacks, as nursing stations are notorious sources of "treats" on over night shifts.  When you've been up all night, it's easy to feel sorry for yourself and feel that you deserve popcorn for dinner, followed by 5 Girl Guide cookies with a brownie chaser.  Then I've got my books, my stethescope, my paperwork (in case I get a spare moment to do it!), and my breast pump.  I was fully loaded down!

I'll sleep like a baby with my pillow & my bud, Throckmorton

Only 3 people were waiting for me when I arrived.  None of their complaints were very serious - twisted knee, a dog bite, a child with fever & sore throat.    OK, I jumped in.  So far, so good.... Cruiser riding.  I stopped for dinner and more patients arrived while I ate.  The post-dinner rush brought me another dog bite (different dog!), three more kids with fever and two more people knee injuries.   We were picking up speed, but still riding a cruiser.  Our first ambulance arrived while I was assessing a snowmobiler with two knee injuries and a pretty good sunburn.  I peeked out to see who they brought in; a young person who'd had a bit too much to drink, maybe with a head injury, maybe with a neck injury.  She was stable, so the nurses checked her in while I finished up.

Fortunately the young patient from the ambulance was not seriously injured, but she was seriously inebriated.  She took abit of work & alot of patience to settle in, but after a while she fell asleep & we kept an eye on her overnight.  The rest of the shift was a bit more like an enduro mountain bike race - a little technical, a few uphill battles, and lots of endurance required.  We had a steady stream until about 4am; I admitted of a gentleman with abdominal pain, rehydrated a young man with nausea & vomiting and treated an especially unhappy looking ear infection.

My head hit the pillow just after 4am, and I was asleep within minutes.  Luckily there were no more calls that night & I woke started and confused at 7am when my alarm went off.  I wanted to review & discharge my patients so I could get home early.  Over in the ER everyone looked better & I cleared out the department.  It's always nice to leave an empty ER for the next physician, especially if your chief of staff is the next physician!  I popped over to the ward to send one my admitted patients home & then I headed home too.

I arrived home just in time to kiss Finley before he laid down for his nap.  I lay down too & had a decent post-call sleep.  I spent the rest of the day in a mild fog, but I had survived my first ER shift!  It was nice to be back & it was not as scary as I anticipated.

The next day it was unseasonably warm & I had the day off.  Derek & I had some free time in the afternoon and so we decided to go for a ride on one of our favourite trails, Angry Midget.  I was wondering if the climb would be too steep, or if I'd be sketchy on the descent, but guess what?  It was just like riding a bike!

Riding Angry Midget in the 2012 "Hot on Your Heels" race.  We had especially nice scenery on the trail that day.

Making a mess!

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