I found the ECT suite with relative ease, and I was 15 minutes early. I was lucky to have already met the other 2 nursing fellows, nurses from Texas. One of the resident nurses on the unit introduces herself and asks which one of us has experience with ECT. I give her the thumbs up. "Okay!" She says. "You can be at the head of the bed with me prepping the patient and applying electrodes etc. You other gals can just observe for a bit."
Alrighty then! Any nerves I had were forced from my body. I work and follow instruction with confidence. That's what nurses do, right? Show no fear. I know this.
I quickly find out that they do some things differently. I am used to anesthesia and doctor at the head of the bed, but I find myself at the head of the bed. "Take off your watch and any bracelets if you have any, she says."
Take off my watch? A golden rule in nursing: always wear a watch.
"You are holding the patients jaw during the stimulus and want to avoid any possible contact with the electrical current. Make sure you do not touch that metal part."
Holy chapel of Duke. Okay.
Doctor Q? Can you hear me? Help.
All jokes aside, it was the way of the holy father of electroconvulsive therapy and I was going to ask a lot of questions later.
You make a lemon meringue pie. Your kids, husband, and friends tell you it's the BEST lemon meringue pie they've ever had. You never have any leftover. You enter Julia Child's cooking institution in Southern France (does that exist? It should) and you see how she makes lemon meringue pie. They are both tasty, but hers is eaten off of a golden spoon. It's created effortlessly, precisely and with little error.
There really is no other place to learn about the treatment and efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy other than Duke Medical Center. Countless hours have been spent in research and development, and any doubt or question about any minute detail a person may have is answered appropriately by Dr. Weiner and his staff.
This is only Day 1.
This will be an incredible week.
At the end of our day, we meet with the lead, the well known Dr. Weiner. Three nurses and three physicians.
You could put us all in scrubs and you could easily tell who the nurses are and who the docs are.
Doctor Weiner makes a joke. Doctors, it's okay to laugh. In fact, I think he wants you to.
I believe two of them were young residents.
I'm sure when they purchased their white coat in medical school there was a tag on it that says, "When worn in hospital setting do not show fear or insecurities...and definitely do not laugh or make jokes until you are well respected by all peers."
I found myself again, grateful, for the doctors I work with. Incredibly smart brains with a whole lot of personality.
I learned very early on in nursing that you can spot a doctor with good bedside manner within the first few minutes. You can't teach it anywhere.
Earlier in the day, I worked with another doctor. I'll call him Dr. Agrestic. When he found out where I was from he asked, "Do you watch the show Weeds?" I told him that I basically live in Agrestic and love the show. He does too. My silent inner voice desperately wants to tell him he looks like Kumar from Harold and Kumar, but I don't. That's two references to marijuana smoking, and I'm not a taker, or toker is it? Okay, that's three references. Let's not give him the wrong idea. He has a great sense of humor and is very approachable. I pick his brain too. He likes to teach and it shows.
The patients are similar to ours...diagnosis, stability and so forth. We also treat inpatient and they are very sick...comorbidities and all. After our fourth call to the 'transport' department, I say a little prayer and thank the heavens for our facility where all I need to do is ask the nurse next to me for a wheelchair. Aaaaaah, the simple life of an ambulatory center.
The palace of Duke Medical Center is fascinating.
I am honored to be here and look forward to my journey in day 2.
~Dedicated to my mother. I was going to forgo writing for the day and go to bed. Her continuous encouragement and support was my motivation to stay up another hour, and she is my biggest fan. Goodnight sweet, Mother.