Thank you for Dying: A Hospital Memoir….

51Uov7UieWL._SL110_Thank you for Dying:: A Hospital Memoir

“For general descriptive purposes, I have lumped all psychiatric patients into two convenient categories, the funny and the disturbing. We’ve all seen the ladder make headlines on CNN, from Ted Bundy to Ted Kaczynski. While I have had more than my share of experiences with the disturbing, I prefer to focus on the funny, and sleep better at night. (or during the day, such is the life of an RN)

   The funny, of course, is also a matter of opinion. Personally, I have always preferred the patients I find arguing with a coffee mug named Steve, the ones that are compelled to do a cartwheel any time a phone rings, or even the one apprehended after attempting to direct traffic at an intersection dressed as Napoleon Bonaparte.

   An all time personal favorite of mine was a man that believed he was God….”

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Fate Makers….


    “A real code, and real CPR is nothing like television or movies would have you believe. Its not a sexy doctor dramatically pounding his fist against a patients chest and yelling “Live Goddam it!” while a monotone flatline sounds from a monitor in the background and nurses somehow weep and swoon simultaneously. A real code is actually far worse; it is a violent, cold a cruel scene. Chest compressions have to be deep, hard and fast. All sex jokes aside, it is a physically demanding action usually resulting in broken ribs and internal organ damage. Large bore IV access is a necessity for the massive doses of epinephrine, lidocaine, and other potentially toxic medications that ironically if they weren’t capable of restarting a heart, they would surely stop it.

    Successful resuscitation is not commonplace. What typically happens is a temporary restoration of vital signs that last hours, maybe days at best. In elderly or seriously ill patients, we often wonder if it is worth causing all the physical trauma a code entails. But if a person can be saved, and wants to be saved, who are we to decide their fate?” -Kelsey David Burnham Slow Code.   

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51AXboWWJPL._SL110_Slow Code

In the somewhat distorted world of healthcare, the word “Normal” can take on a complex range of perspectives. For a patient, things like being stuck with needles, peeing into a bag, and even being ‘felt up’ by strangers can evolve into a certain level of normalcy. On the other side of that coin of course is the staff. A small army of educated professionals who have somehow convinced themselves that sticking people with needles, carrying a urine sample, or touching a strangers genitals in a well-lit room are as routine as a morning cup of coffee. As the great Austrian Psychiatrist Afred Adler once said, “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”

-Kelsey David Burnham