Thursday, 25 February 2010

Little Blip and Nightmares

Apologies for my little blip last week. I still feel like crap, but normal blogging has now returned. (But related to that, I would love if you would let me know that you're reading, either via Twitter or a comment or email. Anything really! Would love feedback on the blog, and requests for things you want me to post about).

As those of you who have been reading the blog back will know, I have a really keen interest in Emergency Medicine. I love anything adrenaline fuelled and fast paced, and I even love treating the minor injuries and drunks etc in A&E (although I much prefer "real" medicine, I love it all!). This means that a lot of the cardiovascular medicine I'm studying at the moment is of great interest to me. I enjoyed my defibrillator training, teaching on arrhythmias and ECGs, teaching on MIs, teaching on AAAs. All of it I find really interesting, and geared towards the medicine I like and want as a future career. So, why am I having recurrent nightmares about being involved in my first cardiac arrest?

I've seen cardiac arrests before, but not been actively involved other than fetching and carrying. I've seen my first in hospital death, and yes it affected me, and I was upset by it, but it's the nature of this job that people will die sometimes. We all have to die eventually. What I don't understand is why I keep waking up from this nightmare panicking, and why throughout the dream I am absolutely petrified.

The nightmare starts with me following a consultant on a ward round. We go to a patient behind a curtain, and find them unconscious. Then begins the resuscitation protocol. I know exactly what happens, I've seen it before, I've been trained to deal with it. Yet, in the nightmare, when the consultant asks me to start compressions and to then start the defibrillation protocols, I freeze and panic, and see the patient slipping away before me. I get pushed out of the way, see a failing resuscitation attempt before me, hear in the distance the consultant ask if everyone agrees to stop and call the time of death. This is the point where I wake up. I wake up panicking and breathing far too quickly, and absolutely petrified.

I couldn't do anything, I couldn't move, I couldn't get myself to do what I've been trained to. I doubt in real life it'll be like this, because often, when I'm stressed then that intrinsic knowledge kicks in and I move and do what needs doing. I don't understand why I'm having these nightmares, because it shouldn't happen like that, and the likelihood is that, as a medical student,  probably won't be involved in an active resuscitation attempt for some time. But yet, that niggle is always at the back of my mind every time I'm in the hospital. I don't know why, and I hope this nightmare will go because I'm exhausted from waking up every night at least once. I guess I'll just have to beat this panic out of my subconscious.

As a weird aside, according to my housemate, I've been sleep talking. Mostly having conversations with my boyfriend apparently. Maybe this is all my stress? It's creepy, that's for sure!! Just hope I don't start sleepwalking!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Disappearing Act

Apologies for disappearances of posts and of myself from the blogosphere for the last two weeks. I've had a few problems with a few things. Mostly it's been friends, ex-friends, moving house, sick housemates, sick pussacat, placement and my own ill health causing problems. Just about everything really.

In the mean time, I've been sleeping, hunting for houses/flats for next year, in and out of A&E, Doctors surgeries and hospitals (Probable kidney stones. Joy.). I've been working stupidly hard on my project on cardiac physiology. I'm writing a report, and planning and creating a presentation (for the record, I really really really hate MS PowerPoint. I hate looking at them, I hate making them, I hate them full stop.) and it's taking up a lot of my time right now.

On top of all that I've been coping with horrible renal colic, resulting in me being given lots of painkillers and a referral to the urology clinic. I've also been dealing with my mental health. I have an appointment for CBT booked, I've had my antidepressant dose upped and some of my regular medications changed. Just now it seems my brain runs at 100 miles an hour and my body can't cope. I am hyper for a couple of days and then I crash out and get more depressed and sleep loads and cry and have a bit of a crisis over whether I want to be at Medical School still or not. Quite frankly, right now, I don't know what I want.

I'm really struggling academically this term and I don't know why. I absolutely love cardiology, and I find it fascinating and highly interesting but I'm finding it really hard to get my head around the science. I guess I'm just not up to this right now with everything that I've got going on. I need to know how best to make me learn this and I can't work out how. 

And to top it all off, on top of me feeling stupidly thick all the time at medical school, my housemate has just come in and made me feel about a centimetre tall. I want to help, really I do but I can't do anything. Right now, I feel completely useless no matter where I am or who I'm with.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


As I'm doing a cardiovascular placement in the hospital at the moment, part of this encompasses stroke medicine. In August my grandmother had a massive stroke, and as a result will be in a nursing home for the rest of her life. Because of this, I'm really nervous about this week's placement with the stroke team.

I worked on the stroke unit at the end of August once I'd come back to university. I thought I'd be fine and able to distance myself and to cope with it all. I was wrong, and I spent most of the day hiding my tears from the other members of staff. I was able to do my job, but I struggled to keep composed when I had a spare moment. I have a fair amount of free time this week. 2 hours a day is scheduled into our timetables. I'm worrying that I'll break down and be a mess. I'm hoping that I won't. In any case, this is the reason I'm still awake right now.

I guess I'll just have to take each day as it comes and keep on going.