What Cepalco Should Know when a 4-hour Brownout Hits a Hemodialysis Center

Cepalco is back again with a new schedule of rotational brownout in Cagayan de Oro. A rather expected “situation” when you’re living within the city and (okay, chance) acceptable, since anyway, their memo is a big help during the preparation. But what happens when power interruptions do not follow according to schedule? Here’s a typical 4-hour brownout scene in a hemodialysis center!

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For the first hour…

Typically, the technician would signal everyone in the room. The nurses, on the other hand, would then, be assigned to one hemodialysis machine to continue the treatment manually while waiting for the generator to fully function. This is because blood needs to be continually circulated or else clotting would occur. This is done by rotating the blood pump manually with the use of a hand crank (lucky if the assigned machine has one, if none, good luck. hehe).

However, if power suddenly shuts down…

Nurses disperse like a bomb that has just been dropped from nowhere. As soon as everything go silent, nurses automatically run to the nearest machine for the manual circulating of the blood but it doesn’t end there as they make sure all machines have been assigned to one nurse. (Problem is, there is a shortage of nurses.) So, the people who are nearby have no choice but to go manual as well. They are the technians, utilities and most especially, the watchers. As soon, as the generator is fully functioning, everyone can then, be back to normal.

Two hours after…

The first hour is tolerable but the next…

Due to repeated power interruptions, our generator has been constantly used (or yet overused) meaning, it cannot anymore accommodate airconditioners. As a result, the center is just getting hotter– fans passed to every patient, curtains up, windows and doors open. Nurses continue their routine with all the sweat dripping down, literally. We can’t freely wipe our sweats because our hands in gloves are busy doing something so, our masks do the initiative to contain all our sweats and I, for instance can honestly taste its saltiness (ugh). Some incoming patients decide to just delay their treatment until the lights are back than suffer the heat and the inconvenience.

Three hours after…

This is it. Almost all patients are complaining and mostly develop intradialytic hypotension. What then, would be next? The machines start to alarm to the tune of…(never mind, you can just imagine).

and the last hour…

Some patients can’t really take it anymore reaching to a point of ending their treatment earlier the scheduled time. Hemodialysis Treatment ends in 4 hours so, imagine if patient arrives at the same time the brownout starts?

and when finally, someone mentions “change power”, we’re like prunes completely drained and dried. We, hereby call ourselves, human generators. What an energy-sapping kind of day!

Now you know, dear Cepalco.

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Author: Germeline Nabua

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