Perfusion Dreams

“The Knight’s Dream” painted by Antonio de Pereda

Have you ever had a perfusion dream?

You know, the kind where you are in it, working through a perfusion problem or cascades of problems?

I have always wondered about dreams like that. Obviously never had any before getting into the field, but then every once in a while one would pop up so to speak.

At first I thought it was a a direct reflection of the days events, but I could have days with really tough cases, sleep like a baby with not a trace or correlation with whatever I remembered upon waking and revisiting the previous night’s ethereal slide show.

I must say in terms of perfusion related dreams- I have covered the gambit, draining reservoirs, cracked arterial filters, gas and foam in the arterial line, etc.

The most recurrent theme however, is where I find myself in an O.R., setting up for a case, and leaving the room for a second, and constantly being sidetracked by people or things encountered in unfamiliar hospital corridors, looking to find my way back to the O.R. because I know we are taking down the internal mammary artery, and that we will be passing up lines shortly, but the circuit isn’t primed, and we need to go on bypass, and I can’t for some reason find my way back, and sometimes I am not even in the building anymore, but some parking garage somewhere looking for the right entrance to the hospital, which once I find it, doesn’t even look the same- and I still can’t find the O.R.

And no… I’m not crazy, and yes I am confidant as a perfusionist. I respect the potential for the unexpected in our field, and no doubt recognizing that such an array of potential, unforeseeable cascading permutations are available on the whimsical wings of fate- well that probably lends salt to a work related dream now and then.

Click Image to “Find the O.R.”

So what does it mean?

I have no Idea.

I Looked up dream theory, Freud, analysis, and stress related dreaming, and couldn’t come up with anything that directly addressed recurring dreams, about work, that are experienced by healthcare professionals in high stress jobs.

I’m sure there is literature out there, but this is more of a lingering curiosity rather than an immediate inquisition for a therapeutic diagnosis.

It’s not like a flurry of recurring dreams, rather just the incidental and unexpected from-nowhere revisitation of my profession’s clinical arena.

I figure these to be not-so-subconscious fears of not being adequately prepared, or perhaps worrying about having missed something. That would seem to be an appropriate concern and is legitimized by the fact that we have perfusion checklists.

The morass of unknown and unfamiliar hospital hallways most likely a reflection of the challenges of having gone to so many different hospitals (back in the perfusion contract and locums days) where the first thing to overcome was an new clinical environment, and new cast of characters / personalities, and then immediately going on bypass.

(“Jacob’s Dream” painted by Michael Willmann)

So I was just curious about you guys out there. I suspect almost everybody has at one time or another, had one or more of these sorts of dreams…

So what sparks them?

What’s been your experience?

Please Take this International Poll and we’ll see where we stand.

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