Hi, I am Glenn and I’m an overt stutterer and have been for as long as I can remember. At the age of forty, I heard about the McGuire Programme™ and attended my first course. I was a Respiratory Therapist at the time. And had a wife and a teenage daughter but my speech did bother me greatly.
I was interested in advancing in my career.
At that time in my life, I was interested in advancing in my career. Shortly after my first McGuire course, I became a dayshift ‘Lead Therapist’. Two years later I became ‘Clinical Supervisor’ of our department. I worked in this position for eight years. I enjoyed having a direct impact on daily operations, interviewing/hiring and department planning for the future. The work was exhausting and I spent more time at work than I did at home.
As I approached 50, I wanted to decrease the amount of time that I spent at work. In order to be at home more with my wife and sharing our common interests. So, the month I turned 50, I went back to taking care of patients’ full time and working fewer hours.
Well, I never knew how to get control over my stutter. Or on how to deal with any of the psychological aspects before my first course. Since then I have attended several. I’ve learnt something new on every course and being on a course is such an incredible experience.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is challenging everyone across the globe. Over the past 30 years, I have seen a lot of challenging situations as a Respiratory Therapist.
Only a few patients were on ventilators. This was about to change rapidly.
During this pandemic, I mainly working in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) and Emergency Department. In late March 2020, we had a few non-critical COVID-19 patients on a general care floor designated for these patients.
This time of the year we are also busy with patients with the flu and other respiratory conditions. We had a section of ICU specially prepared for COVID-19 patients. Only a few patients were on ventilators. This was about to change rapidly.
One night I was the Respiratory Therapist covering the Emergency Department and received three calls in four minutes. Each call was basically the same.
“Glenn, we have respiratory failure patients in room 4, 32, 29 and will need ventilators,”.
I called two other RT’s to assist. In the time before the patients arrived the teams in each of the rooms donned their PPE. I did final checks to ensure no leaks were present. There was a tense silence as we waited the final seconds before the first patient arrived. The first patient arrived in my room. The patient was intubated and placed on the ventilator and stabilized within 20 -30 minutes.
I was documenting a ventilator check. And received another call for a patient that was in respiratory failure about to arrive in room 3. For some reason I immediately thought that Chicken Little was right… “the sky is falling.” I immediately prepared for room 3. The same process occurred with this patient too.
Testing revealed three of the four patients were COVID+. The other was in respiratory failure for other reasons. Thankfully I received no more calls that night for new patients arriving in respiratory failure. Once the three were confirmed positive the process of transporting them to the ICU COVID+ unit began.
After transporting the last patient out of the Emergency Department, it felt like we had fought the first skirmish. I had joined the war on COVID-19.
Over the next weeks, we received more COVID+ patients but not as rapidly as the night I just described. We continue to have COVID+ patients admitted, many require mechanical ventilation or other specialized equipment and care. There has been a tremendous change for us all in the past few months.
We’ve learnt a lot about how to treat patients. And ways to protect ourselves utilizing strict infection control rituals that we use in the hospital and when arriving home. I am lucky to be facing this virus head-on.
The psychological aspects of the McGuire Programme helped me to realize that it was ok to make this change. And to go back to taking care of patients’ full time.
The physical and psychological skills that we learn in the program have definitely helped me in my career. I am a work in progress with my speech and will be for the rest of my life. The McGuire Programme has had a positive impact on the last 10 years of my life. I suspect that it will continue to do so for a long time.
The program was really life-changing for me.
Glenn McMasters USA