Wednesday, June 02, 2004

no dirty magazines for patients in the hospital, please.

Well, my first day back at Borgess (hospital in our area) was unlike anything usual. This is my third summer working there and each day I get more surprised at the things people do or the way some grown-ups behave while they're patients (or family of patients) in the hospital. I think there's this unwritten rule that says all social norms do not apply once you're a patient at a hospital, and therefore, nearly every action or thought or word uttered can be easily forgiven. Today, was no exception. I'll spare you the details, but I have to tell you what I'll try to be as general as possible (hospital confidentiality you know---no names will be given..sorry).

One patient, a 375 pound, sexually aggressive man, had a little tiff with the nurses and his patient sitters after he was caught licking pictures of dirty magazines he had had smuggled up to his room (i worked on the 7th floor today). Staff, including myself would walk in to check up on him and there he was, gown draped over and above his head with a magazine in hand. It wasn't a pretty sight. How do you tell someone not to do something...especially since it seems like a dog's common sense would tell you not to do such a thing in a public place like a hospital where people are walking in and out of your room all the time? Well, the nurse tried to snag the magazines away but recoiled after the man puckered up his lips and wanted a big kiss. She fleed the room and vowed never to go in there again. Then, security had to come up and remove the magazines from him. Yes, that's right...two big men in police uniforms trotting slowly into the room with hesitant looks on their faces only to find the man naked again, with his gown up above his chest. Now, you can picture this, but you have no idea the awkwardness that comes with you being the clothed one, trying to make the naked 375-pound man who's laying in bed put some clothes on. It's very very odd. Right after this, a woman patient walks out of her room with her daughter complaining about some nurse dressed in all green who hasn't told her if she can go to the bathroom yet. I listened and assured her that I would go talk to the green dressed nurse, but the woman wanted nothing to do with her and continued to walk down the hallway for her afternoon stroll. 3 minutes later, her daughter runs up to me and says "My mom's IV just came out!"---Now, sidebar---IV's don't generally just 'come out'----they are usually yanked or pulled very hardly and it is a real pain to insert another one into the patient. NOt fun for the nurse or the patient. Back to the story, so I say, "Okay....let me go get her nurse." The daughter replies, "My mom said not to get the nurse dressed in all green!" I look at the board on the wall that says who's nurse is on what room and I see that, unfortunately, that is her nurse. "I'll send someone down." She runs back down the hall to the waiting room on the floor, where the patient is conveniently dripping with blood sitting in the chair reading a magazine and watching TV. (We have tv's in every room for every patient---i think this woman was just wanting to put up a bit of trouble for this nurse) Then, minutes go by and more kids of this lady patient are running up and down the halls tracking down anyone in scrubs..."My mom's IV just fell out", "Help my mommy she's bleeding in the waiting room"---I look over at a co-worker of mine and can't help but laugh. Another incident, another problem, but sadly, we aren't trained or legally able to aid her so we stand by in silence. At this very moment, I can hear from a few rooms down a patient throwing up and then, I hear the 2 second delay as it plumps on the hard floor (i have to clean that up). I close my eyes and sigh, while another patient is howling for her cigarettes (which she can't have). "I WANNA CIGARETTE! JUST GIVE ME MY #*#(@ CIGARETTE"--- The whole floor, no kidding, can hear this woman. The kids are running up and down the halls, now moreso chasing each other instead of helping their mom out, as the two security men carry (with latex gloves on--you put the pieces together) the magazines out of the room of the 375-pound man. He's furious and shouting back at them sexual expletives, and saying how now he wont' be able to "get off" anymore. Sorry for the details, but you can't help but sit back and wonder how all this can go on and yet, things get figured out by the end of the day and everybody goes to sleep and comes back the next day to do it again. It's exciting, yes...and it's also unbelievable. If I ever make movies or write screenplays and my movie has to do with a hospital, I'll have plenty of ideas to go on. Like my co-worker friend Flo said to me before I left, "Who needs to see 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' we have our own nest up here!" The funny thing is, i don't work on the pscyh. floor---I work on the surgical care floor. I guess one too many surgeries isn't good for anyone. More odd stories in the future, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

Hi Neville,
Yep, I'm reading the blog too. If I wouldn't know better, I would think you were working at a nearby hospital here because I have a good friend who works nights on the weekends, and boy she has stories to match these! Her line after 12 hr. shifts on the weekend is that she's had it with humanity!!

Got the card and pictures today. Thanks! They're great. Did Nate tell you that I had graduation playing on the computer and heard your name announced--I cheered for you! :-)

Hope your 2nd day at the hospital goes a little better--at least you won't get bored!

Neville said...

Nate did tell me. I knew I could hear something on graduation day that sounded like a scream from Butternut road in Coopersburg, PA. :) Glad you got the pics. Hope your camping weekend or vacation in Vermont went well.

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