The struggle is REAL people

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So I meant to write about it last week when I was still upset about it, but I finally got a day off, so I’ll write about my frustrating day in the prep room. We got a case that had a very thick neck. I was in position 1 (the head) so I was in charge with finding the carotid arteries and the jugular vein for drainage. Everything was going fine up until actually raising the vessels. Washed and disinfected everything, eye caps inserted, hair combed, ready to raise some arteries!

This was only my second time on position 1, and they want us to be doing things basically by ourselves, so I got right on in there and started working. I made the incision in the correct spot and started blunt dissecting to find the right side. I started to get a little annoyed with how hard it was to find, and had to keep reconfirming that I was in the right spot. I’d line my guides up and, yep, right spot. Kept working at it until I came upon this hard, sclerotic artery that I could barely raise. I showed my instructor who said,”wow, lotta plaque in there” and I moved on.

Once I got to the left side was when my real frustration set in. I spent what should take 5 or 10 minutes TOPS on finding the left artery and worked on it for a good 20 minutes. Hell, it could’ve been a half hour by the time I surrendered and had to get the instructor in there to do it. I was beyond frustrated and felt completely defeated. I took breaks and would step back and take a breath, reset my guides and go back in, only to come up empty every time. When I finally gave it over to the instructor to help me, he spent a good 10 minutes searching. That made me feel a little better that it was difficult for a seasoned professional, but I was still upset. Once it was raised, I ligated it and we moved on to injecting.

My teammates had raised every artery at their positions that we have been taught (including practicing advanced ones) while I was struggling with the big ones. So now we’re getting to injecting very late in the period, and I started to feel a little better. I picked up the scalpel and started to try and fit the arterial tube in the right artery that I raised earlier. I made the cut, tried slipping it in, but it was fighting me. The instructor came over and told me that I may need a smaller tube for how little room these arteries were giving us. So I step back and let him try to figure out the next move when he says, “hmm, I don’t know if this is it” and starts searching around for the REAL artery! Turns out, sometimes lymph nodes can swell and look like arteries. He claimed that it’s common and that this happens, but I was done. Waving the white flag! I get it! I suck! (not really, but that’s what I felt like at the time)

He then searched in and around the area for another couple minutes and finally finds the correct artery. It was even HARDER to raise to ligate. Almost like it was pulling against me when I was trying to pull it out! I got some ligature on it and cleaned up. We couldn’t even inject because it took so long! I was so disappointed and it felt like such a set back. I was in the worst mood for the rest of the day (other classes were getting on my nerves, and they were exacerbated by my terrible morning).

Competencies are coming up, and I’m a little bummed I won’t get to get back to position 1 before the end of the semester. I don’t think this 1 time alone is going to stop me from passing my competencies, but it would be nice to show,”LOOK! I don’t always do this!” I got to do a Full McKue mouth closure without supervision and nailed that, so it shows I can do things. The last time I was in position 1, the case was extremely emaciated, and I ended up taking some time (because it was the first time), but I did it! Tomorrow’s lab, and I’m hoping to rock position 2 without asking for help or having instructors step in so I can prove, “LOOK! I can get things done correctly! I promise!”

I think they believe me whether I scream that or not, but I’m just so hard on myself when I don’t perform to my abilities. Everyone has their bad days, I understand that. I just hate it. I’ve always hated it. It’s in my nature to compete and succeed, so when I don’t I get very frustrated.

I do realize this whole post has been bitch-bitch-bitch, whine-whine-whine, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’ll nail it next time.

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