1000s of words

Well not 1000s written, but worth 1000s so the saying goes. I just finished posting tons of family pictures on my facebook profile and it is so nice to be able to see all those memories together and to share them with others.

I am now about halfway done with my medical intensive care unit rotation. It has been very educational learning how to take care of the critically ill with their complex medical issues. I am also seeing a lot of patients die in spite of all the best medical intervention the 21st century has to offer. Even though the majority of the patients on my floor have experienced gradual health decline, it is still painful for families to watch their loved ones drift away and pass on.

One of the patients I keep thinking about was being taken care of by another team, but I am aware of his story because all patients are discussed collectively during morning rounds. This patient was in his mid-twenties and really wanted to live. He was also afraid of dying. Unfortunately he was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic error with devastating consequences. In spite of years of aggressive medical management his lungs were giving out and he was struggling to breathe even with a high-flow oxygen face mask. What he really needed was a lung transplant, but he was just too weak to hang on. Apparently he knew the end was near and upwards of 70 friends and family members visited him last night. He passed on peacefully this morning.

At one time I was considering becoming an intensivist — an intensive care physician — taking care of very sick people is intellectually challenging and rewarding when they recover. On the other hand, it shares some of the same features as emergency medicine — a revolving door practice without continuity of care. In the ER, patients come in, are stabilized, and are either sent on to another physician or sent home. Likewise in the ICU, patients are either passed off after stabilization or pass on. I know that I have made the right decision with OB/GYN.

Well, seeing as I need to get up in about 3-1/2hours I’m heading to bed. Happy Belated New Year!

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