Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gratitude

You live out in the boondocks.

3 days ago you developed right-sided weakness and slurred speech, which you attributed to "a pinched nerve in my low back."

Yesterday you came to Grumpyville for a funeral.

This morning at the ceremony your friends noticed you were dragging your right leg & unable to sign the memory book, and suggested you come to Local Hospital (conveniently located down the street from Local Cemetery).

So you limped over here "just to get checked out" before going back to Boondockville.

And now you're angry at me because you got admitted, and demanding I pay for any food in your fridge that goes bad in your absence.

Some days I don't know why I do this.

19 comments:

aek said...

Well, this ancient nurse would investigate the possibility that this poor (emphasis on poor) soul may not have anyone who can support him/her by checking on the house, providing emotional support, comfort or just being a friend. So I would get a social work consult pronto.

This irritation could also be a cover for fear, and you're the convenience target. I might respond by assuring him/her that it's normal to feel anger (even if it is grossly misplaced) at what's happening and then emphasizing the importance of working with you to give the patient the best chance at recovery....

But what the hell do I know?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Yes, I did reassure them of all that, and got social work involved to find ways to check on their home, pets, etc.

I am not as callous as you think. I actually do care about patients. If I didn't I'd have left this job a long time ago.

ED Doc said...

I appreciate that people have stressors, but demanding the health professionals taking care of them replace spoiled food is ridiculous. I can handle people blowing off steam, but I'm not here to take the blame for the effects that people's medical conditions have on them. I'll show sympathy and help where able, but I am not there to be a punching bag. If it's that big an issue and they're competent they can decide to stay or leave. And if they stay they can stop abusing the people around them.

Anonymous said...

Old n cranky, scared, already stressed due to being at a funeral, denial, brain no worky so good in weird ways fresh after a stroke.... All likely factors. Ive also noticed over my years of nursing that the people who are lashing out in the most ridiculous (non-psych) ways are angry with themselves and know they are to blame. Sad, not ok, but not an unusual reaction.

Old MD Girl said...

Aw Grump, She's probably just freaked out and it's manifesting as being difficult to deal with. Maladaptive coping mechanism and all that. It happens.

nurse 8 said...

I'm sure you know, Dr. G., about all of the "stuff" behind his misplaced anger, but it sure doesn't make it any easier some days, does it?

It's almost like being a parent - unconditional love (or, good patient care) despite your teen's nasty attitude. Lack of oxytocin to cement the patient-provider relationship sometimes makes it tough to sustain when the patient is incessantly behaving irrationally...!

Anonymous said...

Probably just a fraction of what their concerned kids/caregivers will receive when trying to take care of them after their hospital stay.

Anonymous said...

If spoiled food in the fridge at home is this person's biggest expense after being admitted to the hospital, they're getting off pretty darned cheap, I'd say.

hoodnurse said...

Yup, it's a beating when you try really hard to be good at what you do and people still find some bullshit that's out of your control to be pissed at you about. Regardless of the reason. Rest assured that your hard work does not go unnoticed. It's just that the people who are going to bitch will bitch, but the people who want to express gratitude often don't know how without feeling uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

The older I get (mid 50's) the less tolerance I find I have for things like this. I'm hoping that as I get older I don't develop a sense of entitlement as I've witnessed development of in my parents. This whole mindset of "fix it now, and for free" is beyond my ken.

Seriously folks, life is a death sentence without parole- no one lives forever- why get stressed out over trying to get 2 months of so-called life?

Trish said...

Just tell yourself that you are doing your bit in the constant (and losing) battle to keep Darwinism at bay.

At least that's what I tell myself to keep from ripping off my clothes to run screaming down the halls frothing at the mouth some days.

aek said...

I don't think you're callous at all. I think you're tired and possibly a bit jaded, but to mix metaphors, the bloom's off the rose about a minute after anyone pulls a 36 hr shift for the first time.

You answered your own question of why you do it, too! (maybe it isn't as apparent to you as it is to us readers)

Best-

Anonymous said...

My husband died just over a year ago at 64. They once thought he had Parkinson, but then at the end didn't think so. Ditto various forms of Parkinson Syndrome. He also had two major strokes and a very major heart attack losing 70%of its strength. He was slim, a non-smoker, tennis player and successful. Also soft-spoken, kind and very sensitive. Until illness struck in 2004 one after the other. At the end he was a terrible patient in the various hospitals he was in here in Hamburg, Germany. He was slowly going out of his mind. He lashed out at the doctors and nurses. We didn't know what to do with him. He thought he was going into a gas chamber at one point and the medical staff was out to kill him. Does he understand the consequences of his actions one of his leading doctors asked me? None of us could answer this. In the end he died of something they claim here hasn't even got a name yet. None of us know what will become of us when illness really strikes home. It is extremely hard coming to terms with how he was in his healthy years and what happened to him later on. Irrational is the only word here and it's not directed to you.

Don said...

Dr. Grumpy,

I didn't get the sense that you were(or are) callous. Sometimes things happen, and your blog is a good way to vent your frustrations in a harmless, and entertaining way (to us, your readers, that is).
As to the patient, having recently learned of a possible problem myself, he is probably scared out of his wits and lashing out. I know that I was, and my problem isn't that serious. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes patients know what happened but don't know how to deal with it. Perhaps, the best this patient could do was take up the case of the rotting tomatoes, and hope that you 'knew' what he meant in mentioning them--something not right and not going to get better, therefore better attempt to a little 'comedy' i.e. life handing him 'rotten tomatoes'. I know once when I was working several part-time jobs, and deadlines, tests, and family issues came up around Valentine's Day, and I thought we didn't have wherewithal to buy the fancy schoolkid cards, so for my 2nd grader I thought it hilariously funny, to cut out red hearts from construction paper, and enclose the message, 'Be someone else's or be mine, but take care of your heart and it'll be just fine'. My husband did not, and said he would go out and pawn something before his kid would give homemade cards with that cryptic message.

Anonymous said...

How do you put a value on roadkill and Velveeta?

Anonymous said...

There is quite a spectrum of personalities out there.

One patient receives a cancer diagnosis and is completely reasonable. Grace and serenity.

Another patient turns out to be perfectly healthy, but pitches a screeching fit over the tape used to secure an IV.

Sigh.

RehabRN said...

Grumpy:

I agree with the other nurses, especially since this looks like a left side CVA.

Sometimes logic and reason go straight out the window on those.

I was waiting for you to say that Granny won the trip to the cemetery.

Queen Silly Britches said...

I think you are a good guy Dr. Grumpy.

 
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