I’ve just been startled awake by a work-related nightmare.
In my dream, I had just given a guy a GA for an emergency appendicectomy. He regurgitated- initially I was very thankful that I had placed a cuffed ETT for airway protection as you do for these appendixes, then I panicked cos I could not remember if I had asked for cricoid pressure during my induction. Had this guy aspirated in the short time between induction and ETT insertion? Then, the guy starts to do something funny with his ventilation. The ventilator bellows are moving and his sats are thankfully still maintained, but his airway pressures are through the roof and the capnograph displays a funny trace. Was he not relaxed enough and thus breathing and coughing against his ventilator? I could not find the atracurium in the cupboard (why did I even look there, they are in the fridge!). The man then starts to brady down to about 40bpm and I turned his volatile concentration down, or did I turn it off? The alarms are beeping, the monitors are not showing any readings- is my monitoring equipment faulty? Argh! Help! And then I woke up.
I hate having these nightmares. I think they are a reflection of all the worst case scenarios that I think about and fear daily. I mean, I know this imaginary guy in my dream wasn’t exactly crashing- but I know full well that he could do, and when he does, he will crash within a matter of seconds. SECONDS! My mind has certainly not been trained to problem-solve at such speed, and my inability to do that scares me. I mean, I know that I am not expected to know everything after only 4 months into the job, but hey! This is someone’s life we are talking about here! I know full well that I can always call for help, which I will do if necessary, but my own pride also tells me that I don’t want to handover a mess to my seniors and so I pressurise myself to get up to scratch!
I’ve made so many mistakes in my last 4 months of training. I’ve encountered airway and cardiovascular emergencies that have scared me out of my wits. I’ve been left clueless about what’s happened in the 1-2 minutes that it took my patients to deteriorate and for my seniors to solve the problems. Basically, I have been left shit-scared (pardon the language).
My confidence has been decreasing exponentially on a daily basis and I think I am having a little crisis at the moment. I mean, I have no doubt that this is the career path that God wants me to pursue, but the “getting there” has been plagued with one traumatic moment after another, and one mini-disaster after another. I’m just fed-up now, and want to become super confident and super good at my work. I can’t wait for the day when people will breathe a sigh of relief when I make an appearance at a difficult situation, and I can’t wait for the day when I will also know that their confidence in me is justified.
I want to be unbelievably good at my job.
I want to be proud of my job.
I want to love my job.