METs >4

“I used to be a heroin addict, ex-alcoholic too,” he said to me, as his piercing blue eyes looked into mine awaiting judgment and scrutiny. As his nurse anesthetist (student) it took me hundreds of patients later to maintain a neutral response, unscathed by his words but exuding understanding and genuine care instead. After all, I would have to take on his body for the next forty minutes or so. Not only did I have to know what heroin’s effect on the body was and alcohol’s chronic use on his liver, translating into a chronic vitamin deficiency but really how was I going to keep him breathing and safe for the next few minutes keeping his stories in the back of my head?

 

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