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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The conundrum of overdose patients

I was going to write about why it's been so slow lately, but considering I set up three ventilators within the first two hours of my shift tonight I'll delay that discussion for another night.

Then again, all the ventilators were set up on patients who overdosed on one medication or another, so all of these patients should be home sleeping comfortably in their own beds instead of couped up with a tube in every orifice.

But there are certain things that are beyond our control.

Overdose (OD) pts are often a conundrum. It's not like they suffer from a disease we can cure with our tubes. However they can receive help via social workers and psychologists. Still, the ultimate determination of how they will do in the future may reside in themselves. Although the brain and how people use it is not my expertise.

Both the ODs we have this night are intentional. One is a repeat offender, and thus frustrating. Does she try to take her life because she perceives it as miserable, or is she seeking attention again and again, considering she has failed yet again. Many times when someone fails, I can't help but think they are simply seeking help.

The saying goes that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I think of life as a special privilege -- an honor per se. Life is rare. And to simply waste it, to me, seems frivolous. And even if I had a suicide thought, I'd have too much empathy for my wife and kids and brothers and parents and grandparents who'd be distraught over my death. I could never go through with it.

But, as I've read, some people get so depressed they lose the ability to reason. But, as I said, the mind is not my forte.

Either way, here sit late Sunday evening, rather busy. The RT Bosses and those who pay the checks are happy. And, to be honest, it's really nice to have some real challenging patients for a change.

That said, minus the slight rush in the ER tonight, I should be as slow as I was the past three nights. Yet I'll take what comes my way and be happy about it.

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