At my place of work, we have the occasional code, or "medical emergency".
Today, I was at the nurse's desk doing some paperwork, when I heard a little voice yell "Call a code blue!!! Room 47 bed 2!!"
I quickly jumped up, as I knew that this was my patient, and ran down the hall. I was in the process of transfusing blood to this woman, so the risk of her having a reaction was always a possibility.
I was surprised when I entered the room to find my patient sitting upright in bed, perfectly fine.
Her husband, on the other hand, was rigid as a piece of plywood in a chair at the foot of the bed.
Me and another nurse quickly scooped the man under the arms, and helped him back into the chair.
Within seconds, the "code team" was in the room. This is a specialized group of doctors, nurses, IV nurses, and Respiratory therapists which answer these medical emergencies.
As I was making my way down the hall to check on my patient, my mind was swirling, and I was preparing myself for the worst. I was thinking "o.k, I'll get into the room, put the head of the bed down, set up oxygen, do a quick blood pressure, assess the patient, and then initiate CPR if needed". All of this went out the window when I realized that this was a visitor to the hospital, not a patient on our ward.
I had to stand back for a second, and restart the whole process. First off, I didn't know who this man was. Secondly, I knew nothing of his past medical history, or any medications he was taking (or not taking).
As I was trying to assess the man, I was asking his poor wife questions about his health history, as she lay there in bed with a total look of terror on her face.
It was quite the distraction - normally, one would only have to focus on one patient and have the full support of the code team, but there I was, with one other nurse, a concerned wife in the bed next to me, a son who was frozen with fear, and a family friend who was crying hysterically.
I asked the other visitors to leave the room to give us some room to work. Just then, the team showed up with the "crash cart", which is loaded with everything from oxygen and dressing supplies, to Epinephrine and an EKG machine.
Luckily, the man came to his senses, and we were able to load him into a wheelchair, and whisk him down to the safe confines of the Emergency Department.
Still shaking for the events that had just happened, I grabbed my lunch and headed to the break room to have some lunch and gather my thoughts.
Just as I began my lunch, I heard on the PA system "Code blue, Adult Emergency".
I don't know if it was the same man or not, and I wasn't able to settle in and enjoy my lunch after that.
I now know why people try to find things to get their heart pumping. These adrenaline junkies love the way they feel during something that terrifies them. As much as I didn't want those events to take place, I found myself just kind of going into robot mode, and just doing what had to be done.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.