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Showing posts from September, 2012

Yes. I want to see you feed a mouse to your snake.

This year I have mulled over the contrast between working in the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit.

Working ED is mundane, in the sense: "of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; wordly; earthly". Rather than the pejorative sense: "common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative." The Intensive Care unit exists in a theoretical realm of controlled physiology and patients devoid of personality and social context.

In ED I see patients who are largely ensconced in their normal life.  Their stories commence with them sitting at their desk or cooking dinner, when injury or illness intervenes. They are still contemplating how this new illness or injury will fit in around their work, children or interstate trips.  They wear their work clothes and apologise for not having shaved their legs.

When patients are admitted to ICU the rupture from normal life is complete: they have entered the sick realm.  They are unable to tell their stories, whi…