Tuesday, June 06, 2006

First Day in the CCU

Welcome to hell.

Today was the first day of my cardiology rotation, based entirely out of the cardiac care unit, which is an ICU only for heart patients. Patients with the most urgent or serious heart diseases come here and stay until they're stable enough to be transferred to the regular cardiology floor ... or until they die. (Or so I hear, that is; I have yet to witness a patient dying anywhere.)

I was also on call today and thus had to stick around until I admitted at least one patient. Used to long and uneventful hours of waiting while on call during other rotations, I was not looking forward to today's call. Lucky for me -- but not so much for our patients -- the events of the day were far from boring.

The first patient to usher in the day was my patient, a very young man with an acute MI -- heart attack. Not only had he just suffered a heart attack, but it was the second heart attack of his life. All my years of reading about nitrates and morphine and beta-blockers and interventional procedures were being put into play in front of me, and in overdrive. And this was for our most stable patient, too.

Some of our other patients we admitted -- ALL of which were acute MI's -- were a man who suffered an MI and whose condition went downhill fast (so much so that within a few minutes there were miles of wires and tubing leaving his body and connecting to life support machines and medicine drips), and another who had his MI while getting a CT scan for an entirely unrelated reason.

Quite an exciting day (at least for me, no my patients). Never before had I had an acute MI patient on a rotation, and now all of a sudden we were hit with five.

Happy 6/6/6, everyone.


On a related note, this is my first clinical rotation of 4th year in the hospital, so I got to sign my notes as MS4 today. Pretty exciting, although I first wrote MS3 and then had to cross it out.

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