Vital Signs

You know that saying in medicine when they say “Patient’s vitals are now stable”? Yeah! That’s one of the most reassuring things to be said about a patient, especially one who was initially assessed and thought to be deteriorating. “Temperature is 36.5 degrees, Pulse is 72 beats per minute, Respiratory rate is 16 cycles per minute and Oxygen saturation on room air is 100%!” These vitals are indicators of stability. They tell us at a glance that the said patient is recuperating well and soon, we’d be needing to write a discharge summary. What more could anyone ask for?

The same rule applies to every facet of life. Stability has indicators; and when these indicators are taken for granted, chaos becomes the “order” of the day (pun intended). I’ve had my own share of chaos in the last few years and believe me when I say that it was some beautiful, blindly enchanting chaos. Lately, I was on a rollercoaster and didn’t even know it. Thanks to a good-old-friend who diagnosed me as being close to “End-Stage Life-Failure” and jolted me back to reality, I probably would be dead now.

The truth, my friends, is that vital signs don’t just pop up on the nurses chart. They are required to be MONITORED! Yeah, the M-word. That’s how we keep our eyes on the patient’s stability. We often write things like “Monitor TPR 4hrly” in regular patients, or “every 30 minutes” in life threatening emergencies. There’s a reason for this and it’s not because we like to give the nurses a sleepless night shift (though sometimes, I must say that it feels nice to tell a nurse you don’t like to monitor the patient’s vodka m vitals every five minutes… Lol). It’s for the patient’s wellbeing that we monitor them closely. And did I forget to mention that it can be sometimes disturbing for the patient too? Imagine having your hand cuffed by the sphygmomanometer every hour in the name of monitoring your BP. When do you get to even sleep. But we do it anyways because LIFE is at STAKE.

As humans, as social beings and more importantly, as healthcare providers, we must constantly check our own personal vital signs. Not your pulse and BP. No! I mean those indicators that remind you that you’ve still got your shit together (please pardon my language). Your mental, emotional and even spiritual stability is key, very key. Don’t go all “worky-worky-worky” that you forget you’re human too. Constantly monitor yourself and resuscitate yourself if needs be. And sometimes, you need to pour it all out to good old friends (or see a Counselor, a Psychiatrist, Pastor, Imam, whoever rocks your boat) or talk to your spouse. They will tell you the gospel truth that you’re on a rollercoaster and if you don’t press the brakes now, and come down now, You’d be GONE soonest.

Finally, there sometimes might be a need to START ALL OVER. Yeah! Like delete everything and everyone and just start all over again. Don’t be afraid to do that. It works, not all the time though, and especially not if you’re borderline suicidal, but it does work sometimes. Run away if needs be. Run to God, that always works though.

Run away, if necessary!

Get your vitals checked guys, your life depends on then.

Dr. Osunlusi Oluwafemi

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