Saturday, March 15, 2008

When Patients Attack

"Help! Help!" My patient croaks from her freshly extubated throat.
"What's going on, what's wrong?" I ask my once perfectly sane patient.
She glares at me with all the menace she can muster.
"You know what's going on," she accuses.
"Where are we right now, {insert name here}?" I ask, wondering if this is the dreaded neuro status change.
"I know where we are right now, don't talk to me like I'm stupid."
"I don't think you're stupid {inserted name}, I just want to make sure your head is doing okay." Wrong choice of words.
"Well, that is not.... that is so rude to say my head is not okay. You are just not a very nice person. I want my lawyer. Now. And the police."
I try to smile reassuringly. "{name} you're in the hospital, you hurt your head, you don't need your lawyer."
"I don't trust you!" If looks could kill, I'd be in the morgue.
"Why don't you trust me?" I try to get a reasonable dialogue going again.
"You smile too much." She states, perturbed. I gulp down another grin.
"You can't hold me here against my will!" She starts to panic and I try to keep her from hurting herself as she becomes entangled in all the different tubes and wires we have her connected to. She grabs her arterial line in a vice like grip and I can just envision the bloody mess, not to mention dangerous blood loss, if she manages to pull that out. I grab her hand as she grabs my wrist with her other hand. For a 72 year old woman who's been laid up in a hospital bed for several days, she's surprisingly strong. And while I don't want to hurt her, I can see in her eyes she doesn't care one whit about hurting me. We are locked in place. If I pull, the A-line could go. If I let go, it's coming out anyway. Just as I'm hoping for some innocent passerby to see my predicament and help, my patient makes the first move. To be continued...

1 comment:

Jane Swanson said...

Oh my dear, you are a good story teller!! Turns out I know the end of this story so if you don't give us the rest of the tantalizing tale soon, I'm going to tell!!!!!!!!
~love,
mom