Eva Leger's Reviews > Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

Critical Care by Theresa Brown
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's review
May 09, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: b-non-fiction, medical
Recommended to Eva by: library
Read from September 28 to 29, 2010

I'd recommend this for anyone looking to get a glimpse into what it takes to be a R.N., especially in an oncology unit. This was interesting for me because I have an on-line friend going through chemo right now and never having had any personal experience with this treatment I had no idea really what is happening to her. There is so much I don't know still but I know more now than before.
There's a nice amount of stories about Brown's patients and to me that's always a plus. Brown seems to be an honest author also which always goes a long way. She comes across as someone you'd want for your own nurse if you had the bad luck to have to be in the hospital in the first place.
I don't know if it's just me but she tended to make everything seem real easy. She stressed things she had no time for, things needed to be rushed, etc. but at the end of the day it didn't seem to be a full days work by nurse to me. I know and have seen R.N.'s at work and I think their days are far more hectic than what comes across here.
The medical terminology is all explained.
Two things I didn't like: one was that a few times Brown tried to look too far into things. One man has to wear an adult diaper because of incontinance and when he makes a joke about knowing how a baby feels she "understands" that he was feeling "infantilized" and that he "acted out the feeling of infantilication into a joke". How about he wanted to joke for a second? This is a real pet peeve of mine so luckily it didn't happen more than a few times here or I'd have maybe not finished. Why everone has to find some sort of hidden meaning in everything these days is beyond me.
"It's interesting, though, that even doctors can be sqeamish about shit."
Is that supposed to be quirky? It's just bothersome IMO.
The second thing was the ending of most of the chapters. The rest of the chapters were fine but the endings, most of them, had to be "enlightening" or "heartwarming". And it felt fake.
Talking about finding a Bible for a patient, which really isn't up to a R.N. but which Brown took very seriously, she concludes by saying that doctors probably don't do Bibles (meaning taking the time to find one for a patient) and that's okay.
"But nurses have to get to the heart of the matter, whatever that may be."
That's not even a good example really, it's one I pulled out fast. It's gets a little more silly than that.
Brown seems honest, like I said, she definitely does not talk down to her readers, and seems to be an all around likable person.
I do have to mention this. The author photo on the back page, with the glasses, is nice.
The photo on the inside back cover is not. Her lower mascara is smudged all over, it looks like she was crying and only cleaned up one eye and she looks like there's a foal smell to the air there. It's a close-up of her, with a blurry forest behind her, and she's looking up and off. Why? Is there something stinky out there that only she can see? Is that why she was crying?
If that were me I'd personally go around the world and make every person give me their copy of the book.
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09/27/2010 page 1
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Meaghan A patient's smooth, unwounded back suddenly splits wide open, Alien style, at the beginning of Chapter Two.

message 2: by Eva (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eva Leger Why?! I just read that in your review and my mouth flew open! lol I swear your reviews are so damn entertaining Meaghann! Not to mention informative!

Meaghan Do you want me to spoil it for you?

message 4: by Eva (last edited Jun 03, 2010 06:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eva Leger Oh man. lol No, I guess not. Who knows how long this'll be on my mind though. Would it really spoil it? I can live with that part being no surprise. :)

Meaghan The man had had surgery on his back some months ago and something went wrong in the healing. The incision healed on the surface but underneath the wound filled up with more and more fluid until the simple action of the nurse turning the guy over strained his skin so it ruptured. He actually felt no pain or distress whatsoever.

message 6: by Eva (last edited Jun 03, 2010 08:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eva Leger Oh my. Wow. Who would have thought something like that was even possible? That is simply scary.
I wanted to be a nurse almost the entire time I was growing up. It didn't happen but I wonder now if I could have even done it. I do have a curiousity for gore and I am okay with anyone - except my family and close friends - being bloody, etc. but it's the strange things - out of the blue things - like this that might have thrown me!
I can deal with just about anything but for some reason bones broken out of the skin makes me cringe. Lacerations, anything else I'm okay with but a bone coming out of skin get sme everything. I watched a show on MTV for a few seconds once - I forget what it was - but oh, man. Talk about stomach turning. Bones popping out everywhere.

Meaghan Yeah, the author was in training at the time and the back incident really shook her up. She was on her way out the room when she saw, out of the corner of her eye, a brown Pepsi-like stain on his bed. And she turned around and was like "Um...is that coming from his back? AUGHHHHH!" She freaked out and called a code on him, bringing in the trauma team with the crash cart, who were just like, "Just slap a bandage on his back, okay?"

message 8: by Eva (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eva Leger I'd have kept on right out the front door! lol

message 9: by Eva (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eva Leger I started this last night and totally forgot we had even talked about it. I got to the part about the back right around 4:30 am and almost dropped the book. I remembered then! lol

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