Thursday, March 05, 2009

Globus hystericus

I never thought I would take to the clinical world of nutrition. I'd shudder paroxysmally in blood's way. I despised needles, white coats, the smell of geriatric piss caked in hospital floor cracks. I looked at my six months at NY-Presbyterian as an initiation into my profession, my body and mind anointed (with monounsaturated oil, of course).

Today I walk in like a veteran, an intrepid practitioner ready to suture up skulls. Ready to yank off jowls and whet up my scalpel. No, I don't do this. I don't even want or dream it (but I like how it reads!) Unflinchingly, I saw a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) get placed the other day, the doctor threading his tube down his patient's throat and into the belly, puncturing the stomach and abdominal wall in order to get a feeding tube in there. My white coat gives me front-row seats to some great shows.

And then I get to determine the nutrition part, the feeding, the life!!! (OK cowgirl, calm down there...) I dance along the polished floors, buzz into my patients' rooms. Without showing my feverish side, I listen to them, observe... hear their stories, their thoughts, pain. Deduce the patients' needs. I may want to do this, I think to myself. More than six months. Work here, be here...

And then I go and almost aspirate a patient today. She was at risk for choking on her food and I didn't know that reclining her bed by more than 45 degrees could draw contents from her mouth right into the lungs. She wanted to sleep, I thought I was helping. (I shouldn't be allowed to push buttons). Our team is fast, our doctors, nurses on their toe-nails. Scrupulous in their care. Like a King-Kong in slo-mo, Nurse Hatchet swings her arms above her head and swims into my patient's room, her sensitive kong-ears hearing the robotic sound of the bed spit out its motor-laugh. With a fat thumb, she pushes the tiny bed-button and sneers at me from the corner of her eye. The bed responds with a gurgling motor and makes its way back up. And I snap out of my medical fantasy, stuttering and shuddering again.

No comments:

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)