Are you familiar with the well-known lyrics “The Heat is On…” sung by Glenn Frey? This line has come to mind a few times over last couple of months of having to battle this summer heat. On one of those days, with the heat index measuring around 110 degrees, my van was in the shop, so I drove my power chair from the hospital all the way to Michigan Street. (Yes, I know…just call me “Crazy!”) With the sun just glaring down and toasting my skin, I carried a tall glass of water with me, stopping every few minutes to prevent dehydration. Even in the shade, there was very little coolness!
Reflecting on this incident, I am reminded of the heat that we endure here in the ICU. A critical patient requiring the maximum life support, including every known pressor, suddenly codes. Family members press us for more information and demand more medical interventions. Phones ring constantly at all the nurses’ stations. A patient needs to be transferred to a rotoprone bed. Another patient constantly uses his or her call light. The list continues on and on.
So, how do you gain relief from this heat? Where is your coolness when the ICU is cooking? Personally, for me, it is fishing, traveling, playing games, reading, and “sciking” (better interpreted as using my scooter to go hiking). No matter what brings you relief, do it and notice the changes in your body and perceptions. The American author Vernon Howard once quoted, “What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind.” Thus, be creative; for the more shades you find, the less burnout you will experience.