Wednesday, May 25

Sour Stomach and Too Close to Home

For the last few days, when I am awake, I have a slightly sour stomach and mild tachycardia most of the time. Rational or not, I am tweaked at the idea that at any second the tones could go off and I’ll arrive on a scene with people looking at me to quickly and accurately know how to help very sick people. When I’m actually on a call, things are going fine (though I still have a lot to learn). However, when I’m not on a call, the protocols begin to swim in my head, I start to wonder if you select the “paddles lead” for pacing or cardioversion, and I become convinced I am going to freeze when it matters most. I think I just need to run more calls and, sadly, handle a “big one” by myself. I don’t like this feeling, however, and hope it stops soon (hopefully without my hurting someone).

The other night my wife woke me up asking me to listen to our 3 year-old daughter’s breathing. It didn’t take a stethoscope to make me nervous. From outside her door I could hear loud stridor with each inspiration, and her respiratory rate was a bit high for her age. When I got into the room, she was supine, awake, looking semi-agitated, and had mild retractions. I briefly considered calling the ambulance, but given I was the medic on call, and knowing how long it would take the rig to get to our house, the wife and I headed to the hospital ED in our vehicle while my parents (who were visiting) and son slept in peace. I was, of course, thinking though the whole croup vs. epiglottis differential diagnosis. I new better than to try and get a look at my daughter’s throat, she wasn’t drooling, and I was relieved a bit when her stridor calmed as we got out into the cool night air. It was bad enough that at the ED that they gave her a dose of steroids before sending us home. Her pediatrician, who saw her a few days later, started another course of steroids and has her taking albuterol for a week or so. Nasty case of croup, to be sure, and I’ll be OK if I never see another.

My office is a mess and needs to be overhauled, but I am admittedly having a post-semester and post-medic class break / letdown. I’ll get off my a$$ soon, but it is nice to have my evenings with my family and a little less structure during the day (this will crash soon enough, as I have a research student and summer class to teach this summer). Mark my words – I’m going to start working out on a regular basis or I’ll shave my head. Really. Hold me to this, will ya? Thanks.