Monday, February 21, 2011

Communicating….or more to the point, NOT communicating.

I think, more than anything else, this is the major hurtle for this project.  Those of you that have talked to me about ICHF and what our organizational mission is know that a major tenant of the whole thing is teaching.  We want these sites to do these surgeries without us someday.  That is the whole point…surgeries on children in the interim is somewhat of a bonus. 

And at this point I am about willing to give my right arm for a freaking interpreter. 

There is only so much I can get across with simple words and gesturing.  Yes, I can teach how to calculate medications with paper and an actual calculator, demonstrating math and physically drawing medications up.  I can demonstrate how to perform chest physiotherapy or how to draw an arterial blood gas from a line. 

But I cannot convey just how serious an oxygen saturation of 35% is.  Or a pH of 7.1.

Trying to explain why oxygen saturations of 75% are okay for a child who has had a Glenn but very, very not okay for the VSD repair in the next bed is out of the question.  Can you imagine how confusing that must be? 

But the worse part about not being able to communicate is the parents.  Regardless of the condition of their child.  They don’t know.  They have so many questions; so much fear.  They have entrusted us with the lives of their beloved children and we can do so little to reassure them or accurately inform them of the condition their child is in. 

I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds tough...It's hard enough to explain some of this stuff to someone who speaks your own language, I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be to have an extra barrier in your way. I love you and miss you sister!