Stories from the Paeds Slate

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Anaesthesiology is hard, guys. And paediatric anaesthesia even more so. But I really like my days on the Paeds Slate because the theater is out-of-this-world amazing. Everything is in stock (well, mostly) and the nurses are out-of-this-world competent and everything is just nice.

We gassed for a simple inguinal hernia repair and did a caudal block for post-operative pain. Even the best caudal blocks apparently don’t ALWAYS work so when the baby awoke he cried. Although I have my suspicions that he was crying from hunger and not pain. Anyways, his mom came running to console him, and she was crying too.

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Big, silent tears that broke my heart. I haven’t seen a mother cry because her baby was crying in a very long time.

For another case, a child started resisting as we were about to start the inhalation agent. Usually when this happens, if their parent can’t calm them down, we turn the Sevo up high for a quick induction. But in this case, the mother was an absolute champion. She showed her young son the ventilator-bag and told him to inflate the balloon. Then she cheered him on as he breathed deeply to blow that balloon as big as a he could. It was gorgeous.

Image from Grey’s Anatomy. They don’t usually sit this quietly.

In the background we slowly turned the Sevo up bit by bit, and it was one of the smoothest inductions I have seen in a child.

I grew up with awesome parents like these. But I’ve come to see that they are rare. The parents I see in the hospital are often absent in mind or body. It’s sad. I can’t judge them because I knowย for many of them survival is a daily struggle. I get angry with a lot of the parents I see in the hospital and I don’t always know what to do about it, because what do I know about being a parent?

But it says something that these two little encounters tugged at my heartstrings, doesn’t it.

12 thoughts on “Stories from the Paeds Slate

  1. You do internships in specialties too? We only do the basic Medicine, Surgery, O&G and Paediatrics. How is your internship set up?

  2. Once upon a time I wanted to do some sort of pediatric surgery; now that I’m a mom I know that there is absolutely no way I had the balls for that. You, though, seem to be handling things super well!

    • Oh, med school is just one heck of a desenstising program, that’s all. You don’t really give handling things a second thought until you lie in bed at night. Thanks, though!๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Just dropping in to say I’ve just discovered this blog, and I’m really really enjoying it. Won’t find me commenting much but I’m a regular lurker.

    I’m a computer programmer from Gauteng. After every read I thank the gods that be that the stuff I work with don’t breathe and don’t bleed and don’t cry. And that, when I make a mistake at work, nobody dies.

    I have incredible respect for the work that you do, especially in our public hospitals. So wonderful to see your enthusiasm. Keep up the good work, and the high spirits.

  4. Hi! The second mom was wonderful for getting her little one to “blow up the balloon”. Unfortunately, most parents are at a loss, as are the staff and even anesthesia. That’s why I invented mask-free devices that turn induction into a game. Take a look! pediallc.com
    I am going through the FDA in the US and hope to have it on the market within the next year.

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