Made a difference… There was a soul about to be lost- a 14 day old baby without the diaphragm muscle allowed to sustain an equal break to challenge the country western songs we turn to when Life escalates to misery- yeah he didn’t really have that chance- just a gust of air to his mom and dad.
Somehow skipped the dance, when in some other place in the hospital, suggesting to my other half on the phone how much I loved her, the tale was told as my phone was corralled to the ICU and the simple statement… “we are decannulated” made me drop the line.
As a perfusionist that line- “we are decannulated” suggests a world of scenarios and seriously bad visions. To share an extension of that- the projections of “what if’s”, as you run to the setting, manifests a cloud of decisions that need to be made in a hurry.
So simple Not- that was what passed my clinical marker as I heard it..
So simple not, yes we had a 10 day old baby, that was placed on bypass to resurrect whatever lung capacity could be gleaned by rest and surgical reconstruction of the primary moving muscle for the airway- the Diaphragm.
This child was a challenge and as well- wanted to live. A concept so forgotten by so many when faced with seemingly endless trials, the bite we sink our teeth into, is a reminder that every second opportunity for life is worth the effort.
So as I arrived, the silhouette of a doctor doing chest compressions at a rate far greater than I can count, I placed hand to neck, to compress the artery that had been forgiven, the exit to his soul about to be extinguished if allowed to bleed out.
This was not a drill, not a rag doll to practice on, it was a living painting of shadows and shapes hovering about, with one common goal, to save a child, no time to think. Years of practice coming into the mix, translating a story yet to be written into the real mix of what medicine is about.
The drama of caring enough to intervene. That is what medicine is.
The grace of many many years of training that comes to bear- when an ill wind comes about.
The graciousness one feels when death has been defeated in a setting that is not war. A truly kindred spirit that is shared with a cup of coffee as a toast of unspoken passion and hopeful promises are raised to the spirit just continued.
A soul lives on because of us. A soul lives on. It truly is unspoken.
The mutual admiration one has for a team of such momentary accomplishment. An edifice to professionalism, that none need to speak up or out- of what has just been accomplished. The salty taste of the rim of success seems to make the long hours of unremarkable waters- a trough to lay in- and wander in thought at the greatness of us.
Should our young patient 5 years hence languish in this same sea, then perhaps we can brag. Until then it would be unprofessional to relish this tear drop of success.
But being an animal human, when I look in the eyes of our team, I will hoist a toast to the end product of a test that was not simply Multiple Choice.
I shall brag. I shall in my own heart brag I shall. One more soul perhaps lives to listen to the great music we listen to, to enjoy the to panorama of life and pictures, and decisions to be made. An extension of us has been rendered by us to continue the line.
A rope to hope.