Mar. 14th, 2017

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I spent a lovely morning lecturing about acute respiratory distress syndrome to my students. It is an interesting lecture, because I remember back when I was a new ICU nurse, how ARDS patients were the most difficult ones to manage, and most of them died. We would wreck their lungs trying to get them enough oxygen under pressures that they couldn't tolerate.

A lot of them still die, but a lot more survive. This is due to the advent of the computer-controlled mechanical ventilator that we have now, and didn't have back then. Back in the early 90s, all we had were mechanical ventilators. We set a rate and volume, and it delivered that volume at that rate, whether the lungs could tolerate it or not. It was all we had.

The ventilators we have now, evaluate every breath, and can precisely shape each breath to the patients lung resistance, airway pressures, and other parameters. It thinks. It's just one of multiple revolutions in care I have witnessed over the years. It's pretty cool, and it gives me an excuse to tell "back in the day" stories to my students. I think they were more surprised that we used to be able to smoke in the ICU break room than they were about how ventilators have changed.

I am excited about my trip tomorrow. My colleagues and I planned out our free time this afternoon before we left. I am in charge of transportation, one of them is in charge of things to see, and the other is in charge of where we will eat. I was thinking about it, and this is the first time I have ever gone on a work-related trip that someone else is paying for. When I was working at the hospital, I would occasionally get reimbursed for conference registrations, but always had to pay my own travel expenses. Once some medical device company flew me out to Florida for a couple of days. That was pretty cool.

Normally I would bring my regular camera with me on a trip, but I decided to just use my iPhone camera and leave the big one at home. I'll be in meetings all day, and don't want to leave it in the hotel room. As I write, I am rethinking this, and might bring it anyway.

It's in my backpack.

cocktail shaker and ice bat
cocktail shaker and ice bat

Someone posted on Facebook today about needing a cocktail shaker and something to crack ice. I happen to have both. The shaker is a recent addition from my martini phase. The ice cracker comes from my grandfather. It looks like a little baseball bat. He used it (and later taught me to use it) to crush ice for the shot of scotch he had every evening. Or two, if he could sneak it by my grandma.

You hold the ice in your hand, and whack it with the little bat. It took some practice, but I got good at it. My refrigerator crushes ice, so I don't use it anymore, but I still keep it.
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