i went in to work with the hopes that we'd be slow for a little while to allow me ample time to really wake up. 3pm seems like the middle of the day for most but when 4:30am rolls around and i am barely crawling into bed, 3pm is really my mid morning.
anyways, a patient arrived shortly after me that was a full arrest. he was in his 70's and had a large past medical history, i can't remember what now, but while eating soup he choked, or something like that. i guess i don't really know the whole story but he'd "been down" for around 20 minutes by the time he arrived. basically EMS had already tried giving medications although he had no IV and no ET tube, which now that i think about it...how the hell did they give it? so i guess they magically gave him medicines somehow but they didn't work. so he had no pulse and wasn't breathing when he got there.
we tried to start an IV which didn't work, and then an IV was established that DID work and by that time, really, what's the point? he'd been down for so long and if 4 rounds of epinephrine didn't wake him back up...then the sucker was just ready to go.
this is where the problem begins. i will work my tail off to save someone, i can touch them and go around them and look into their eyes with no problem while the code is going on (while we're working on the person). but the second the doctor pronounces death, i lose it. my mind does not want to comprehend that the person in front of me is no longer alive. i can't deal with their cold skin, their glazed eyes and limp extremities. every time someone dies in the ER i force myself in the room to try and help and every time i walk out nauseated and shaky like i'm about to have a panic attack.
give me blood and guts and all kinds of secretions from orifices that would gross most people out. sure i'll take that patient with a foreign object in their rectum, or a paper clip sticking out of their ear. bring the vag bleeding, COPDer, respiratory failure...just don't give me the dead person. or at least go in there and hold my hand through it because it just really, REALLY freaks me out.