August 4th, 2005
In color! (I carried around a set of colored pens and drew this one in a travel scrapbook that is mostly filled with memories of a Europe trip I took with my parents and sister).
At UVa I was one of the Respiratory Therapists on the bronchoscopy team. Basically we assisted on bronchoscopies for patients who needed to have their lungs looked at with fiber-optics. I assisted on some odd ones. I remember one very critically ill patient, their circulation was supported heavily with vasopressors and I think he was an ARDS on top of preexisting pulmonary fibrosis — the inside of their lungs seemed to be filled up with black tar. Really terrible. I worked the night shift at UVa, so there were no “day in day out” bronchoscopies, it was usually people who were very sick. The Pulmonologists were all really cool, and it was fun to be in that assist role. They want saline, you have the saline ready. We maintained the bronch cart and assured we were ready for anything. It was actually quite fun, despite the seriousness of the job.
When a patient _already_ has an endotracheal tube in, adding a bronchoscope can get dicey if you’re making sure they get their ventilation properly. High peak airway pressures can add some adventure, and you do your best.
Mind you, my RT skillz are over 10 years old, which sort of still amazes me, because I don’t know that the technology of bronchoscopy and mechanical ventilation has changed all that much. Then again, computer and internet technology has changed by leaps and bounds in the same intervening time.