PICU Rocks !

ECMO @ Covenant Women & Children’s Hospital

I don’t know about the rest of you all, but our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is a place that from the outside looks dreamy through a small child’s eyes, and on the inside represents the shoreline for many a shipwrecked souls.

I have an interesting relationship with this particular PICU in West Texas.

It’s a place I visit once in awhile and then all of a sudden, when an ECMO comes down the pike, it becomes a home and I reconnect with some of the amazing people that give their hearts and souls to the profession of saving the lives of young innocents.

Each ECMO run always takes on a life of it’s very own.

It doesn’t suck the life out of you, but it reminds you that living doesn’t suck.

Simple yet profound. Watching LIFE struggle so hard to sustain itself- is a humbling and eye-opening experience.

Nobody on ECMO worries about personal politics or having a bad day. They just fight to hang on !

Each run is a new animal…

Different situations and clinical issues, a whole new set of parents, and a whole new set of hopes, dreams, and fears. Basically a new canvass for a new painting, with different shades of weather, skies, winds, and waters.

And in the middle of that painting is a baby-child-or partner that needs to find a way to live.

These nurses help them find their way.

There aren’t any words to express the deep sense of respect I have for these friends of mine- so I just want to throw out a shout- and let you guys meet them.


Her real name is Tiffany, but she’s been “Tiffers” to me since our first few ECMO shifts together 4 years ago. Tremendous nurse and unbeleivably kind and professional. I took this picture in one of our ECMO suites here @ Covenant Women & Children’s Hospital.

There were many nights where we discussed hopes and dreams, West Texas living, Michigan, and the Metropolitan apartments where we both somehow got stuck living in- at one time or another.

I would trust her with my baby’s life anytime and anywhere.

Blessed to know ya Tiffers- Blessed to know you.

Talk To The Hand ….


Its not the Honey Badger…

There is a nurse named Ashley that is actually attached to the other end of that paw… 🙂

Ashley seriously rocks! She is now the daytime PICU charge nurse, and is totally 110% on everything she does on and off the field. She used to be a scholarship soccer player for Texas Tech University, and then she chose a different path to be a PICU nurse.

I respect her for her tenacity, her competitiveness, and an incredibly soft inner core when it comes to taking care of the kids under her charge.

We are always edgy together- a frat rat mentality to say the least when we kid around and talk smack.

You can see the rest of her in the next couple of shots.

One + One

It’s all about synergy here in the PICU. It’s not an additive effect as much as it is synergistic. In this PICU energy is like a snowball, it picks up speed and takes no prisoners.

If someone is down, or having a rough time, the two nurses above will pick them up and carry them through it.

Ashley on the left has already been introduced, Brandy on the right (I guess that would be obvious) is the PICU director and a tremendous nurse educator.

When I met Brandy, I was raw to ECMO, and she knew it, but always respected the perfusion side of me when it cam to making clinical decisions.

We spent a lot of West Texas summer nights watching kids on ECMO and as is usual at 3:00 am in the morning, talking about our lives and families. You get a good feel for people when you work with them for such long durations and @ the toughest times.

I am glad to call you my friend- Brandy. 🙂

And Marty…

Yep. And then there is Marty…

Marty is the PICU ECMO coordinator, with some formidable skills. She has qualities that are unique, and compassion that is rare.

When we first met, I was a little skeptical, because she was a nurse- and why was she running an ECMO program?

I would say most perfusionists feel that ECMO is our domain, and we tend to sniff at other licensed professionals who’s scope of practice overlaps ours.

But Marty is more than just good. She is excellent in her clinical skills, communications skills and her empathy towards her patients, family, and coworkers.

I have learned so much from her. 🙂

Kind of like a pit bull- she doesn’t give up, is always on top of her game, and never loses her composure. ECMO is her life, and she basically is the glue that holds the fabric of the process together.

I think enigmatic would be a great term to define her. Fantastically enigmatic and ALWAYS right there 100% of the time. If you are a patient, and you are planning on dying, you might as well cut your arm off- if you want to get away from Marty- cuz she won’t let you go.

Parting Shots…

These people are only four of the many many great individuals @ the PICU that I have come to know and work with. I’m sorry I couldn’t include all of the rest of you in this post, but I am certain as we work together, your name will rise to the top.


(I sound like such a clown in this video. Click Image to Play)