Monday, January 19, 2009

Respiratory Therapy

As many of you may know, I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. I work in a 60 bed community hospital and am responsible for the respiratory care of a diverse patient population...from the preterm babies to the aged. This requires the ability to respond to intensive care, critical care, neonatal and pediatric emergencies where my role is, simply put, is to maintain the patient's airway through a variety of therapeutic modalities. Additionally, being part of a small, but state of the art facility, means there are only 2 of us scheduled for any given shift.

We are now in "respiratory" season. At this time of year there is an increase in admissions due to Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma exacerbation, etc. This makes for very busy shifts. This past weekend it appeared that every admission was one requiring the service and care our department provides. It's a good thing I enjoy my work!

RSV is a particularly vicious infection in the compromised patient population. This is especially true for premature infants. It is not uncommon to be called to the Emergency Department due to a "blue baby" in transport. These infants sometimes require intubation, respiratory resuscitation and transfer to a larger facility with a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The reason for this is that their airways are just too tiny and are easily occluded due to the amount of secretions this virus produces.

The above actually sums up what my day was like yesterday. Despite all of that, I love my job and feel God has put me exactly where I am needed: to provide compassionate care and prayers for the weak and infirm.




3 comments:

Pamela said...

You're job is so important! Jack had RSV when he was 7 weeks old. It was the worst thing I've ever been through. He was a big baby too, weighing 8lbs 10oz at birth. When he wouldn't eat and couldn't sleep, I knew something was really wrong. He was hospitalized and as soon as he was given a breathing treatment by the resperatory therapist, he was like a whole new baby. I could have hugged that big guy who was probably 300 lbs and over 6 feet. I love you 5thsis...and everyone like you. Jack is very healthy now and after the first 18 months, he no longer needed the treatments when he caught a cold. :)

thamesarino said...

I admire people who can do what you do... my sister is in the medical field and I watch how hard some days are.
Thank you for being the amazing person that you are! : )

5thsister said...

Aw gee guys...you're making me blush! We all have our "calling" and I am fortunate to have stumbled into a job/career that I actually enjoy. Yeah, there are days I get frazzled, just like anyone else. And there are those patients who, no matter how hard I try, will remain noncompliant with their treatment regimen and continue to smoke. Watching them get sicker and sicker and to succumb to their disease process when the progression could have been halted/managed is frustrating to say the least. Thanks again for your sweet comments.

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