In the Life of a Fickle Intern

February 28, 2013

Burn

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 20:13

I have a whole new appreciation for skin after this month in the Burn ICU. For me, I’ve always considered the eyes to be the most personal organ of a patient, but now, I’m not so sure.

After four weeks of burn care, I’ve come to realize how much the skin can identify a person! We take it for granted because it’s just there, protecting, shielding, keeping us well and alive! In the Burn ICU, people come in after severe deep burns, and in order for them to even have a chance of surviving and healing, the dead skin is removed and that wound is grafted (with fake skin followed by their own skin). Burn healing is a very, very long process, as I am learning. There are patients who have been there for months! But more importantly, without the skin, everything about your body kind of falls apart. All of a sudden, without the skin’s protection (your skin is your largest organ!), your whole hemodynamic stability is jeopardized in one way or another, whether it’s by infection or dehydration or electrolyte abnormalities. It’s kind of amazing to be able to see the progression of patient care  from burn resuscitation to burn excision to skin grafting and seeing all the complications that occur in between. Though this month has been crazy busy, I have learned so much and I have gotten to do a lot (escharatomy!). Despite it all, I am literally counting down the hours until I am done. My body STILL hates being up for 30 hours every third day. You would think it would get used to it by now, but apparently not. One more call tomorrow.

(And to be fair, despite the cool context of this ICU, the rotation itself is pretty painful – long hours, lots of disorganization, lots of drama!)

Don’t take your skin for granted! Take care of it! Wear sunblock and don’t smoke while you’re intoxicated with an oxygen tank…things I learn. 🙂

Nonetheless, considering how busy life has been since 2013 has started, it’s been good to me so far, much better than 2012 at this time (break in #1, you ask?) Slowly crossing through my abnormally long and important to-do list, one thing at a time.

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