Saturday, July 17, 2010

This week I reacquainted myself with two patients I'd talked to last week, patient PT G who has MDS and PT S who has ALL. PT G (GR) looked much better since when I'd encountered her last week she'd received some pain meds that had knocked her for six. She was still not in great shape since she remained in pain, though, as she suggested, it might just have been from spending so much time lying in bed and getting stiff. Her problem was that it seemed to be taking some time to figure out a pain relief regimen (not helped by her not getting any meds on the Saturday). The medical staff also, she reported, seemed to think she was "malingering" and didn't want to go home. This seemed hard to believe, since she has a perfectly fine home to go to although she was going to have to rethink her lifestyle, as I previously mentioned.

Patient S seemed in worse shape. She was experiencing asthma-like symptoms and seemed in more distress. She didn't want me to stick around so I moved along. Another patient (PT K) I had previously talked too and assisted told me that he wanted bottled water since someone had told him that the pipes were not clean and were full of "bugs". He insisted a member of staff had told him about this. I asked the acting clinical nurse manager and another nurse who happened to be in the conference room having lunch at the time. They were both highly amused and had no idea who would have told him such a thing. There is bottled water for patients with especially challenged immune systems who feel more comfortable drinking that water rather than that from the tap, but we all know that the water from the tap is no less clean. This patient often wears an eye patch over his left eye due to a brain tumor that causes some problems with that eye.

In another room I encountered a patient who was not happy with his meal. He wanted a sandwich instead. He also wanted me to reheat his coffee and bring him various things. I asked his nurse for the day if he could have a sandwich instead of his meal. What I heard in response was very interesting: he'd had a sandwich earlier (and on another occasion prior to that). He'd not eaten it all and hadn't kept what he hadn't eaten. He'd been homeless for six days prior to being in the hospital. One assumes the novelty of some kind of control over his circumstances had induced the apparent "fussiness".

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