Monday, April 14, 2014

of a passion for your vocation and snakes

Update on the Snake Bite Victim:

I know some people want to hear the whole story of how and why Charles was bitten by a snake after handling them for many years.... I cannot take away the story that is surely his to tell.  I can't wait to hear the version in five years.  I am sure it will involve snow, hills, and perhaps a long struggle.

But the real answer is statistics.  He just finally lost to the odds.  Do something long enough and something will happen, especially with animals (and reptiles).

He of course was aware of what to do and what the identity was, etc.  He was doing what he has always done, learn and watch and try to educate others about the wildlife in Florida.

The update is that he is doing so much better.  His finger has reduced in size to the equivalent of a very fat cigar.  It is still wearing the purple badge of honor which will deteriorate as the bruised tissue is replaced.  He will probably regain total movement (though now it is a little stiff).

He is a very lucky man and had wonderful people to assist him in his moment of need.  Of course, he is back fishing and wandering the woods, and parks and waterways.  And of course there will be more snakes - hopefully of the red rat variety though.....

Thank you for your concern and thoughts.

Part One:  Most of us work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.  That is 2000 hours a year, almost a third of your time and over half your waking time.

So lucky the ones who choose a vocation or a calling rather than a job.  Lucky those who have a passion and are able to do it for a living.  I know so few who chose what they love to do as a way to earn a living. So if you are one, then you have my admiration and my envy.

This is never so evident as in the healthcare field.  There are those doctors, nurses, pharmacists, phlebotomists, and nurse assistants that make you feel  like you are a person that matters.  They make you know that your pain is not their goal.  They make you know that the pain that you feel is recognized, that there is empathy.

The needle in the arm for the tenth time finds no veins.  The veins can be "fished" for or they can roll.  But, the truth is, the search for the vein can be done with gentle finesse or with the careless skill of a novice.  And of course, there has to be a novice.  I wonder how they select the novice tasks... "follow me and do what I do" or "follow me and you can learn on those with the least pain"...?

The difference in those paths are simple, the one who is passionate about providing the best care with the least pain, and those who want to get the job done. 

Neither are truly wrong.  But the difference is amazing.  And who do you want leading the next generation to provide care?  the passionate caregiver or the functional performer?

It is not fair to make someone who is truly good at their craft an automatic leader or teacher.  Not everyone has that knack.  But when you find the two combined, you have true inspiration!  Think back on your best learning experience.  I promise the person was truly excited about their topic and couldn't wait to tell you all about their knowledge.  It is funny, but my husband and my father are examples of people who were passionate about their fields and could not wait to share their interest with others.

This weekend my husband went to the ER with a snake bite.  A water moccasin snake bite.
 For those who are not normally involved with poisonous snakes, that is a hemotoxic bite:

Hemotoxic venom radically attacks blood and tissue cells causing traumatic damage to the area which received the bite. In some cases the after effects are so bad the patient may require skin grafts due ttissue degeneration and muscle damage.  Hemotoxic venom works by preventing the body’s blood supply from coagulating, therefore causing bite victims to experience large amounts of blood loss. 

" The victim’s limbs quickly start swelling as the body resists the effects of the cottonmouth snake venom. The swelling is as a result of body fluids collecting around the bite area which gradually spreads to other body parts. The swollen body parts redden followed by severe itching " according to  and snakebite trauma  

The experience in a medical facility is dependent on the experience of the staff with the specific trauma.  It was very interesting to see the staff respond, calling poison control center, following the protocol and keeping the indicators recorded.  There was a huge difference in confidence when a doctor with experience with snake venom talked about treatment and those who were just following protocol.  It was a confidence issue as much as a credibility issue.  We were fortunate to have a doctor who had learned from cobra bites...  she exuded confidence, control and knowledge.  How fortuitous. 

And back to the beginning, she not only knew the treatment, but told me the patient would not change.  That there were more snakes in his future.  Hopefully, no more poisonous bites though.  She smiled at me with the knowing, " I have a recalcitrant husband too" look.

Between the doctor and the kind phlebotomist, the nurses who helped pass time all night, the difference in those who chose their passion, and those who chose a job was clear. And lest there be any doubt, I a grateful to both. It's just a little more fun, a little more certain, a little more reassuring to have the ones who are passionate and skilled.
Thank you to all those who helped at #CCRMC