INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: What Should You Expect? (Doctor Vlog)

I'm still on my ICU rotation and I'm on call, as usual. It's been a pretty crazy day, but just had a moment to get into my call room for the first time. So I'm actually just sitting here on the bed, relaxing. I've been wanting to make this video for a while. You know if you're a medical student, a resident or a family member coming to visit someone in the ICU. 


I want to give you a sense of what to expect. So I remember so well what it was like when I first was a medical student and experienced the ICU. I just felt uneasy. I didn't know where to stand, I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what all the beeping meant. I didn't know how to ask permission to do a physical exam the way we normally do. Everything just felt weird to me and I didn't feel natural and I always felt like I was doing something wrong. So in the ICU where I work, you'll walk in and you'll notice there's an area for the nurses to sit outside the room and they can see through the glass and be able to see vital signs, keep an eye on the patient, see if anything changes. 

They'll know right away and they can go in and help the person. Things you can expect to see would be a tube that's going down their throat. That's actually going into their airway. And I've got one of them to show you, so this is what the tube looks like. The other tube that you may see coming out of their nose is called an NG tube. And that stands for nasogastric. It goes down into their stomach. Those are really good, because we can give nutrients, so protein and carbohydrates. So what that looks like, it's often these yellow ones like this. So the ways that fluid can get into a person... 

Oh, sorry. I'm on call, one sec... Okay. Hi, this is Siobhan from ICU returning a page. Okay, then yeah, okay. Thank you. Okay. Bye. Sounds like there's a new patient in the emergency department that I need to go and see, so I I'm gonna go and do that. See this patient, so we don't keep them waiting. Anyway, hold those questions. I'll be right back. Okay, yeah. So there are different ways that we can get fluids into a person. So through the IV, that you can imagine. Another way is through some bigger IVs. You may see something sort of going into someone's neck and don't let that freak you out. It means that we don't have to poke the person to get blood work. You can get lots of fluids into them quickly,

 so that can save someone's life. And then if we're giving all that fluid, we also need to make sure that fluid is coming out of somewhere. So you may see a urinary catheter, so it hooks up so we can drain out urine. You also might see someone hooked up to a machine called a dialysis machine. And that's basically when someone's kidneys aren't working and you've got a machine that can actually cycle blood through it and clean it out and bring it back into the body. So like a pretty amazing invention, like I think it's super super cool. So if you are going to visit someone in the ICU, someone that you care about and that you know, I would just say don't be scared or intimidated. Be there for that person, you don't really know what they can hear, what they're experiencing. 

And so talk to them, hold their hand, do what feels comfortable and natural to you. Don't let this environment with beeping and sounds and lines and things going into their necks freak you out. It's still the same person and you can be there for them, so don't be scared. Also ask questions if you're not sure what's going on. Ask us, the nurses are phenomenal in the unit. You'll meet respiratory therapists who are working on the airways, dieticians and then you'll meet lots of people from the medical team. So those are some things that I think are super helpful to know in advance. 

It's something that's not talked about a lot. And if you're going to the ICU, it's probably during a really tough time in either your family's life or your life. I think we need to open this up for conversations, so I really want to hear what you have to say. 
INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: What Should You Expect? (Doctor Vlog) INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: What Should You Expect? (Doctor Vlog) Reviewed by Reaz blog on July 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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