* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm the assigned code leader once a week on this rotation, including today. I feel like over the course of the past year, I've become reasonably competent at a few things. For the most part, I can distinguish between urgent problems and less-urgent problems. I feel reasonably confident about which tests to order and when to order them. I'm starting to recognize patterns, and how certain situations unfold. Lab value says this means we need to do that. Okay, fine.

Running a code is not something I'm comfortable doing.

Putting in a central line, also not something I'm comfortable doing, but that's for another post. Running a code is scary. Being the person in charge of trying to bring someone back to life is the opposite of a responsibility that I'm happy to have. I don't think I'm alone there. I remember when I was 16 or 17, my grandfather fainted in the waiting room of the doctor's office when I was taking him to an appointment. The doctor freaked out. He ran into the hall and screamed for another doctor. Any other doctor. Just not him. He said to me-- as if this was something I'd done to punish him-- "don't bring any more dying patients to my office." He wasn't even dead. He fainted. We called 911, the paramedics came, he was okay. This was a real doctor, with a real medical degree, freaking out.

I am better than that, but not by much-- or at least that's my fear. The beeper goes off, I panic. I do not want to run a code. If I'm the patient's family member, I do not want me running the code. I want a real doctor running the code. Someone who actually knows what they're doing.

We practice this, but practicing is not the same as really doing it. And I've been at codes, but never alone. And hopefully I wouldn't be alone here either-- people are supposed to come. People are supposed to come help. People more senior than me, even. They can take over. I can let them. I'm happy to let them.

But I'm the designated one in charge. If no one else shows up, it's on me. It's on me to tell everyone what to do and where to go. It's on me.

I'm told there's been like two codes in the past month. The odds the next one falls on my day are low. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Hang in there until tomorrow. When someone else has the beeper. Just a little longer.

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