Today I witnessed my first Code.
A lot and a little has happened in this past month that I will get into in a separate post. But as part of my journey in entrepreneurship is balancing school and my business. As much as I’ve tried to, not hide, but just intentionally choose to NOT display the fact that I’m still in school, I cant do that anymore. It’s such a big part of my life and the separate post is still coming soon to get the in’s and out’s of what I’m studying, my program design, blah, blah, boring stuff. Anyways, lets talk about this code.
So. I am currently completing my Ambulatory Care Rotation at a Clinic. Ambulatory Care focuses on health care that can be provided in an outpatient setting. “Ambulatory” literally means “To Walk” so I like to think of it as “Walking illnesses” health issues that patients can live with if well managed. So like your diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia to name the top 3 disease states that I see EVERYDAY. I’m not kidding. Everyday. But what do we expect with the types of foods that we consume. Exhibit A: Popeyes Chicken Sandwiches. But I digress.
My patient comes in to see her provider and as usual I go in to speak to her about her medications. 57 year old woman, who hasn’t been back here in 2 years. She’s been seeing a private doctor and has been in and out of the hospital for over 1 month and her last admittance was for chest pains. The patient has all 3 diseases I listed above plus angina (chest pains), stents in her back and heart, so her medication list is quite lengthy. I speak to her about her medications, ask her my usual questions and immediately I'm alarmed because her Blood pressure is 193/93 and she says she's only been taking 1 of her blood pressure medications because her other 3 have been out. The provider comes in and is asking more questions. When she learns about the BP, she tells her immediately that she has to send her to the hospital. Pause. Let me just paint the scene for you all. The patient is not sitting on the patient table, she is sitting on a chair to the right of a counter where the sink and medical supplies are stored. Okay? Got it? Good. Sort of diagonal from her, the provider is sitting at the end of that counter with her laptop documenting the patients complaints. I, me the Pharmacy student, who did not sign up for all this patient interaction, me, Onyeka, the pharmacy student who has just been here for 4 weeks, me, I, yes, me, the pharmacy student who does not know anything about codes, is standing right next to the provider directly across from the patient. Scene set? OK, good. So less than 1 minute after my provider says we need to send her to the hospital, she's in the midst of asking another question when all of a sudden, the patient starts to lean to her right a little bit. The same right where the counter is, not a different right. STOP. So everything happened in like 10 seconds but it felt like slow motion. My mind already races on a regular day, but in these 10 seconds it was just going haywire, so let me break my thoughts and actions down second-by-second.
Second 1-2: I notice the patient start leaning a little to the right towards the counter. I think “hmm that’s a little weird” and take a step forward cautiously because if she is really falling I don’t want her to hit her head against this counter, but if she's not falling I don’t want to look like the idiot who grabbed a patient that was just adjusting herself in her seat. Because I am capable of doing something like that.
Second 3-4: “PATIENT IS DEFINELTY FALLING! PATIENT IS DEFINETLY FALLING!” I think to myself, as I watch her eyes roll to the back of her head and the provider gets up to assist me in bracing the patients fall. As I’m reaching for the patient I scream “JESUS!” because idk if this lady is having a stroke, idk. I JUST SAID WHATEVER IT IS, JESUS COME FIX IT BECAUSE I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!... in my head.
Second 5-10: We have the patient sprawled out on the floor and the provider yells into the hallway “CODE BLUE!” at this point I'm looking like “What do I do?,” I'm just standing at the patients feet looking at this passed out woman laying helplessly on the ground
After about 10 seconds the room is filled with other providers and nurses and I’m just in the hallway staring into the room in shock and just trying to stay out of the way. At some point I walk back over to the nurses station and walk to the bathroom to get my bearings together. As I was walking to the bathroom some of the staff was asking if I was alright and I just couldn’t help but laugh and walk away. I got myself together and came back out to the nurses station and just sat down and looked at my thumbs.
This is not what I signed up for.