A locum’s Scrap Book: The Haze in the Maze

“When we dream- “perfusion dreams” I think it is a subconscious attempt to deal with latent or buried (perhaps unrecognized) insecurities or issues we have in front of us.”


Space 1

Editor’s Note:

When we dream- “perfusion dreams” I think it is a subconscious attempt to deal with latent or buried (perhaps unrecognized) insecurities or issues we have in front of us.

The fear of losing my way is one I encounter (albeit infrequently) and represents one of the few things that seem to nag at me at night.  Getting lost in an OR and not being able to find my way to the target (as in the CABG I am about to engage in)- at the new place I just arrived to.

This happens to be a recurring dream I have had over my career as a perfusionist- this tepid insecurity where I find myself in a room- with a pump unprimed, surgeon taking down the mammary- and man, we are going to be on bypass pretty quick- and I still need to prime.  So…. I have to assume that the dream is a coping mechanism for stress related to this occupation. 

A significant portion of the dream elaborates on me having to leave the room to gather the things I need- and all of a sudden, when I turn back- after walking out of the main OR, I find myself in the middle of what appears to be a modern thoroughfare of a medical complex- with miles of corridors, restaurants and other Mall-like businesses, and an array of indistinguishable doors to open.  Of course- as I open the door, it becomes the wrong door- I recognize myself to be lost and unable to retrace my steps- throughout which- the entire time I am seriously worried about getting this system primed on time and be ready to go on bypass…

Then I wake up

(Bottom line?  It’s a dream and not reality- but it does make you focus on areas in your practice that may need refreshing- or you need to at least ask yourself the question of “why it bothers you to begin with?”).

Fast forward to today, at a new cardiac Mecca- somewhere in the Midwest, and no kidding- this OR has more twists and turns than any I have seen before- not to mention the fact that I have a drill sergeant for a mentor- (1 year out- but really pretty damn good and we enjoy each other’s humor) who is a stickler for decimal points and lot numbers, and probably finds it humerus that I appear to be on the edge of cluelessness regarding my own personal location in the space time continuum that represents my new life at this unfamiliar clinical site.

In the back of my head- I have to at least applaud his perspective and I hope it doesn’t skew the perception of my clinical skill level- as the two paradigms-(being lost in a new environment versus conducting a bypass run) are two distinctly different animals.

Oh well- repetition seems to be working- and am seeing a dramatic reduction in the amount of time it takes to get from the front door- to the surgical team.  It is however a valuable lesson relearned.

Another challenge met …  CHECK!  🙂

As a LOCUMS- the need to get on your feet quickly, assess your surroundings, and deliver a solid performance when called to do so-  is absolutely paramount.  🙂



Space 1


Steve Ford Perfusion dreams never end well, just sayin.

Julie Mokry
Julie Mokry About 10yrs ago, I stumbled upon a surgery (with my then cvor team) going on in a meadow on top of a hill. Had a beautiful view to the east. The grass was dewy like it had recently rained. They were already on pump, no perfusionist was there, and the whole circuit was filled with air. I don’t recall if they were waiting for me to continue with and help them. I think we exchanged a few words (along the line of it’s too late, there’s too much air). Then I just floated past it all into the woods.
Space 1