Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The TV and the couch

When did I start watching all this TV?? When I first moved out of home in 2002, we didn't have a TV. In 2004 we got a TV, but the only show I watched was Twin Peaks- which is *practically* film. In 2006 I started watching Six Feet Under, which singlehandedly converted me to TV. Now I watch:
-Mad Men
-Thirty Rock
-United states of Tara
-The Wire
-Freaks and Geeks
I can't even remember them all! I keep telling myself that it's because TV is smarter now, edgier. BUT WHAT IF I'VE JUST BECOME DUMB?? A DUMB AND LAZY COUCH-SITTER??

Excuse me I have some TV to watch.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Intensive Dream Unit

I have just started a week of night shifts. Seven long nights in a row, but in what other job do you get a full seven days off every 8 weeks?? And it's not all bad- nightshift can be freeing to the mind! As Daniel Kitson described in his awesome show 'It's the Fireworks Talking', staying up all night can make you feel INVINCIBLE!!! Or at least give you the type of meandering, loose-associations-type thought pattern that 9-5 never delivers.

Last night on my drive to work I was thinking about the amazing monitoring capability of the intensive care unit. When you first start working with intensive care patients- those in an 'induced coma'- it is completely bewildering trying to figure out if they're okay or not. The senior staff will suddenly become very concerned about one particular patient, who to the casual observer, looks identical to all the other apparently sleeping patients in the intensive care unit. Of course, the senior staff are responding to the monitors- heart rate, blood pressure, intracranial pressure, core temperature, oxygen levels, compartment pressures etc. Anaesthetists also use BIS to monitor how deeply asleep their patient is. It is used during surgery to prevent the patient unexpectedly waking up to see their gall bladder being wrenched from their body.

Last year I went to check on a patient who'd been in our Intensive Care unit for two weeks and was transferred to a general ward. She had worked in the unit herself, so everyone was very concerned for her and curious to hear of her experiences on the supine side of the bed. When asked how it was, she said, "Well, I flew to Paris." And she wasn't talking about taking a Qantas flight- she *flew through the sky* to Paris.

Apparently the 'induced comas' of ICU can cause a peculiar delirium, intense dreams that the person will often remember for life. Some patients have dreams so terrifying that they never enter a hospital again- they would literally rather die than risk repeating the experience. I imagine that given another 50 years, we will routinely monitor patients' dream sequences. Just another high-def, touch-screen monitor showing their propofol-induced adventures in technicolour.