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!


  1. I'd prefer it if you didn't start sleepwalking! The house is bad enough without midnight (or four am) excursions!


  2. Hey, get well soon, found you through Manchester Medic and will follow you now:)

  3. Get well soon, hope ur home soon


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