Through a Doctor's Eyes
Arriving early to the hospital to walk around the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit before my night shift begins, I grab a cup of coffee from the coffee shop and head up the stairs to the 10th floor.
As I walk in, the day team lines the hallway awaiting the arrival of pediatric cardiology patients - infants, toddlers and adolescents alike - from the OR. The unit operates much like a beehive, each person on task, moving quickly and efficiently throughout the unit. I notice the smiles they wear on their faces as they move along busily to the next task.
Nurses move in and out of patient rooms, periodically pausing to ask doctors a question before continuing to take care of some of the most complex patients in the hospital.
Patients and their families wave to me as I walk past their rooms – some of them waiting to be taken to surgery while others are just waking up from an operation. Others are waiting patiently for the next step in their care.
As the post-op patients arrive, the anesthesia team pushes beds down the hallway where the ICU team waits to take over patient care. The surgeon is already at the bedside and families stands by, ready to see their loved one. After undergoing surgery, each patient’s body is weak and dependent upon machines to assist with their recovery. The ICU team operates with one common goal, to ensure a smooth, mistake-free transition while keeping each patient safe and comfortable. Though the team has completed hundreds of similar transitions, they treat each patient as their most-important case.
After confirming that each transition went smoothly and my assistance is not required, I turn and walk down another hallway toward more patients who are awaiting care. I put on a clean gown and gloves to meet with families and hope to catch a playful grin from my patients. Whitecoats aren’t always so scary after all.
My next stop is the call room. As I walk, I can’t help but wonder how these patients with congenital heart disease who are fighting for their lives every moment of each day be so strong? Their smiles truly inspire others to be courageous and to remain hopeful. These patients fill the lives of everyone around them with joy. I am proud to be a part of their care team.