Sunday, December 19, 2010

i'm so glad we've had this time together

RN: Hi. Your nurse is tied up with another patient right now, but since your light is going off, I thought I'd check on you. Is there something I can help you with?

Pt.: I'm in pain. I'm in so much pain I feel like crying. And I feel like I'm lying in bed funny. I need to be fixed. And this alarm over here [jerks thumb over shoulder] won't stop.

R: Okay, let me get you some pain medication, and then I'll get you repositioned, okay? [Stops alarm.]

P: Don't I look funny here? Like I'm really laying in bed wrong? How did this happen?

R: Well, your bed is tilted upright so you can see the tv, but you have to lie flat because of the procedure you had. We'll get you fixed up. I'll be right back. [backs away, silently curses not faking deafness, comes back two minutes later]

R: Okay, I've got your pain medication.

P: What is it?

R: Fentanyl. It's a narcotic.

P: Pssht. That shit never works. How long will it take it to work? Why can't I have more pills?

R: If it never works, how come...[decides, "fuck it" and doesn't ask anything] You can't have more pills because you already took some about 15 minutes ago, remember?

P: Oh. So how long will it take this to work?

R: Since it's IV, about five to 10 minutes. [pushes it, prays it makes P shut up]

P: OW. Jesus. That stings.

R: [tries to care]

P: [tries to sit up, lies back down immediately] OW, shit! That hurt! I'm not supposed to sit up, am I? What is that thing?

R: In your leg? [takes a peek under the sheets] It's an arterial sheath. It's a tube that goes through your femoral artery. There's medicine going through it that keeps you from clotting, so if you antagonize it by sitting up, you could bleed to death. That's why you have to lie flat. I'm sure someone has explained this to you, since you've been here a couple of days now.

P: Whatever. Can you move me? I'm sliding down, I can just feel it. Does this look right to you? I wouldn't slide if you'd let me sit up.

R: Someone is on her way to help me move you.

[RN2 enters.]

R: Thanks for coming, R2. We're just going to scoot this lady up. On 3. Okay, 1, 2, 3.

[RNs scoot Pt. up to top of bed.]

P: God, you could have warned me. I told you I was laying here wrong. Now can I sit up?

R: No.

R2: [rolls eyes, stifles giggle]

P: I could probably move myself if I weren't all tied down. [Waves hands around in the air for emphasis.] Hey, I need cream.

R2: [flees the scene]

R: I'll let your regular nurse help you with that. [Starts to leave]

P: This really itches. [Lifts up gown, right tit; starts scratching vigorously.]

R: I'll tell your nurse.

P: It's a fungus. I really need a cream, it itches so bad. Worst damn rash I've ever had. Jesus, my leg really hurts. Can I have more pain medication?

R: I'll tell your nurse.

P: Tell my nurse. I really need that cream. And my catheter really hurts. I hate that thing. Tell my doctor, too.

R: I'll tell your nurse. Goodbye. [Flees.]



  1. Like this pt should be and I am very glad that nurses don't carry guns. I probably wouldn't be making this comment if they did.

  2. my favorite part: "[tries to care]"

  3. Gotta: In terms of work culture and worldview, there aren't that many differences between nurses and cops. I should mention, I live in a conceal-and-carry state.

    Jess: I really was trying to care! It just didn't work out, though. So...are you going to start writing?