At work last week a dad came up to the back station with his two kids (8ish and 12ish?). Their mom was on our unit, and the kids were understandably worried. The dad wanted to help reassure the kids, as well as see how his wife was doing.
He asked if the kids could take a look at the telemetry monitor at the desk. I said sure and brought up the appropriate strip window and turned the screen towards the kids.
It was a picture-perfect sinus rhythm, 60-62. I didn't know the patient, so I don't know if that's on the brady side for her or what, but it looked fine to me. I asked if either of them had seen something like this before, and the older one said it looked like in movies. I said that the heart runs on electricity, like a machine, and the bumps were little jolts of electricity. "When the heart gets shocked, it squeezes up tight, just like when you get a static shock and you feel yourself twitch a little bit" I pointed out the QRS complex: "This point here is what tells the heart to beat. See how everything is very smooth, and the bump (P wave) is nice and round, and the spike (QRS) is thin and pointy? Those are all good signs of a healthy heart."
The kids looked a little relieved, as did the dad, I think. lol I brought up another strip, with had a fairly jagged baseline, the occasional missing P wave, and huge blocky QRSs. I pointed out how different it looked from their mom's. Hers was just plain prettier to look at.
Then I told them about the monitor techs in the cockpit looking after her heart, and the phones we carry calling us automatically if something bad happens "but something bad won't happen" interjected the dad. I hope he's right. The dad thanked me for explaining things to them. I told him it was probably the best thing that happened for me all week.
I really enjoyed the interaction. I miss young people a lot. I miss being able to educate people who have open minds and vivid enough imagination to make sense of what I'm telling them. I need to get the hell out of telemetry.