Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I had a kind of freaky day at work today. I really wish we had proper debrief! It just seems sort of...expected... that we won't have issues with the stuff that happens there, and I just don't get that. However, with some of the newer staff, I'm feeling able to form a bond so that maybe some of that debrief can take place, just informally, amongst ourselves. Because, maybe it takes place informally amongst the others, and I just don't fit in yet.

Anyway, not long before shift change one of my detox clients had a really bad seizure. At first I didn't know what was going on, I thought she was just joking around. She started gasping for air and stiffening and falling over. One of the other clients caught her. Mr. nice guy and I ran over to her and the three of us lowered her to the ground where she continued to seize. She started vomit a little, so we quickly got her on her side. Not a long seizure, but then a long period of unconsciousness with no rousability and odd twitches/eye movements. As she started coming out of it, Mr. nice guy left to check on the status of the ambulance and I stayed with her.

The client started coming around, but was behaving oddly. After getting no verbal response, I took her hands and asked her to squeeze them. The client squeezed, but instead of just squeezing she kept trying to put them in her mouth, and she was STRONG. I called for Mr. nice guy and he helped me wrestle myself away from her. Anyway, first response took a looooong time to get there, and my client was freakishly altered. No sense of where she was, how she got there, and asking very strange questions. Her voice was different and so were her mannerisms. Firefighters arrived, and did all her vitals and stuff, and then we waited, and waited, and waited for the paramedics. A consious female, even a very altered one, just doesn't take priority.

My client was SO altered though. And just odd. Every time a guy walked near us, she FREAKED out. She grabbed me really hard one time and freaked me out too. And she was freaking out all the other clients, because they wanted reassurance she was okay, and she didn't know who they were. She told me that the one man "had beat everyone up" (nope) and another had been kicking her purse (nope). She still didn't know where she lived, or where she was or anything like that. Strong denial about having a seizure.

Finally paramedics came and she was able to walk out with them. She wanted me to go the hospital with her, and I was quite sad that I couldn't. It's hard when you're with someone through something like that, and even though they have no clue who you are, they realize that you're someone safe and then you have to leave them. She'll be okay though. The paramedics were nice, and she's a white well groomed female.

But yeah, after that, shift change was over and it was time to go home. I thanked mr. nice guy for saving me from being eaten, but that was it, he didn't seem to want to talk, and one of my favourite staff just said, yeah, people have a post seizure period of alterdness. But, it freaked me out! I'm okay now, but yeah, it would have been really nice for someone to acknowledge that it had been a bit traumatic for me! Maybe I need to speak up more. Or maybe everyone at work is just so used to it now they don't even thinking about it. I mean, I've seen a few seizures already and I've only been there 3 months.


cb said...

It sounds rough. And i think you are completely right about needing to debrief - and if there's no formal mechanism then the informal one can work too.
I went to a course recently where the importance of debriefing was emphasised and they were discussing a model where it took place at the end of the day in a team. I'm not sure that could work on shifts but it is certainly a team that I'd like to work in..

Still Dreaming said...

Debriefing is SO important. At my volunteer job, we debrief after every single night. It's great. I wish we could do that at work. I think shift change is the perfect time to do that in some ways, although there are of course challenges.