Intuition. Gut feeling. I think most of us at one time or another has felt this inner voice leading us in a particular direction for an unknown reason to us (our conscious mind or ego).
Wait. Let me back up a bit.
If you read my bio, which is okay if you didn’t, you will know that currently I am a paramedic. I have worked as an EMT for the past five years. I can tell you that if you work in this field, the seasoned staff will tell the noobs to always follow your gut. There has definitely been a couple of times where I have been driving out in the county, in the dark, in the pouring rain, trying in vain to find an address. Most of the mailboxes don’t have an address on them. But for some reason, you just KNOW you are at the right house. So yeah, small things like that have happened to me. But recently, I have been having things really “gel” with me.
Let me explain:
I was called out to a patient in a nursing home. The reason they called us was “lethargic and weakness.” Okay, pretty generic. So what was really wrong? The patient was alert enough. When I touched him (I always make it a habit of physically putting my hands on patients for first contact as I introduce myself), his skin was super hot. I asked the nurse how long his fever had been going on.
And I inquire about if they had given him any Tylenol or Motrin for the fever. Nope. Of course not. Well, unfortunately this was not surprising to me. I continue my assessment: lung sounds, blood pressure, etc. Something in me told me to assess his feet. As I ran my hands along his legs, I felt a catheter bag: under his pants. Usually foley catheter bags are easily seen and hanging from the rails of the bed. So I check for edema (fluid retention) in his feet, which there was none, and go back to inspect the catheter bag.
Now, from all your experiences going to the bathroom, you should know urine is supposed to be yellow and clear/transparent. This patient’s urine was cloudy and chunky. I immediately understood what was going on. The fever was an untreated UTI (urinary tract infection). Three days of no treatments whatsoever. Now he was in urosepsis. I began my course of treatment and transported him to the hospital.
When the doctor walked into the room, he asked me why we were called to the nursing home. Having a good relationship with this particular doc, I said it didn’t matter why we were called to the NH. He was uroseptic and would need IV antibiotics. Doc just looked at me. So I gave in and said, weakness and ongoing lethargy was why we were called, but I’m telling you he is uroseptic.
Some hours later, I had brought in another patient. After inquiring about this man from the nursing home, I found out he was admitted to the floor for none other than, urosepsis!
Okay, so I know this doesn’t seem like a miraculous event on my part. Any good medic does a head to toe assessment on their patients and would have found that catheter bag.
But this time there was a nagging voice inside me that said, Better check those legs!
This case was just the beginning to myself becoming more away of my intuition. In the next part I will discuss another call where my intuition kicked in.