The Almost-Serious ICU Diaries


If you spend enough time, say a fortnight, at a single work place (and you are a semi-arrogant West Delhi resident), you feel kind of an expert of that place. I spent the last 15 days in Intensive Care Unit, or gynaecologists call it, ‘URGENT’, and now I feel that my expertise matches that of Kamaal R Khan in Bollywood, which is just another way of saying that I can rant on about the topic for hours without making sense and people may still listen because I have a face worth laughing at and I will throw in the ‘c’ word here and there.

Over the past 15 days, I learnt how to manage critical patients in a highly qualified way with some help from the senior I was tagged with, for e.g.
SIRRRR! Bed 6 tachycardia! What to do?
SIRRRR! Bed 4 is not moving! Oh wait, he was just sleeping.
SIRRRR! Bed 3 has got hold of my neck *choking sounds*
SIRRRR! Chai mangwayein kya?
(Read again with a panic tinge in voice for true effect)

I also learnt about the discharge criteria from ICU, which is usually the point when the patient’s arm starts looking like Om Puri’s face because of repeated pricking for blood samples. It is never easy working with agitated and/or sick patients, because no doctor ever said the words “Wow! Sputum bath again” with a smile on his face. The procedures are tough to do, and the human body works in a perfect loop of irony, because the secretions supposed to stay in mouth will go down the wind pipe, the endotracheal tube supposed to enter wind pipe will enter oesophagus, and the gastric drain tube will coil around itself in the mouth, and then you feel as helpless as a single guy alone at home with fractured wrist of the right hand.

The day duties are hectic due to work, but it is the night duty that actually scares me because there will be one or two patients who will stay completely still while staring at you at 4AM, and I have watched a lot of Bipasha Basu movies and I have now realised that ‘loss of bladder control due to fear’ is not just a metaphor. Also, after all the suctioning of secretions from the patient’s lungs, you do not really enjoy the special dinner thali featuring kadi pakora, because nausea can be a bigger bitch than Karma.

There is a special bond that an ICU resident forms with the patients, which cannot be put into words, because mostly the patient has a tube down his throat and can’t speak, but I’ll still try to give an example:

Patient: *points toward his mouth*
Me: Pyaas lagi hai?
Patient: *nods yes*
Me: Ye lo. (Injects one millilitre water into his mouth).
Patient: *vomits almost a lake on the floor*
Patient: *points toward his mouth again*

I got exposure to all kinds of poisoning cases, and being a C.I.D fan (the Sony show which will bring humanity to an end pretty soon), I believed a poisoning can only be suicidal or homicidal. I wish I was making this up, but some of the reasons I was given for ingestion of suspicious liqor and/or drugs included:

>I thought it was paracetamol
>I was out of alcohol
>I just felt like tasting it
>My friends bet me five hundred rupees if I could drink acetone

Hence, people of East Delhi are not only extremely curious and dim witted, they also need to make better friends.

Now that ICU is over, I can finally go back and help the surgery team to make this nation a secular, sovereign gall-bladder-free nation. That, and eating kadi pakora without wanting to kill myself.


About Ankit Sharma

Doctor and Drummer in making... Movie-buff since birth.
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4 Responses to The Almost-Serious ICU Diaries

  1. Deepika says:

    This one is too good ankit 🙂

  2. Himika says:

    You really have good sense of humor… keep writing, bro

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