Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Corn, I ask you?

Me: (creeps into a patient's room to try to empty his catheter without waking him)

Patient: (drowsily) "What are you doing down there... are you- are you pulling corn?"

Patient Type: the Paralyzed Patient

You hear a patient yelling "Help! Help!". Naturally, you walk in and say, "Can I help you? Why didn't you ring the bell?"

And they go, "I'm paralyzed from the neck down."

Right about there is the point where you feel like a douche.

Stereotype Characteristics:
- Patient requires constant readjusting and has a "system" for it. For example, you start out by straightening their hips, and then you fix up their legs, then their feet, then you arrange their hands in their lap and on and on.
- The bell rings every five minutes for things like "Could you push the water cup three centimeters closer so my lips can reach it?"
- There are constant moisturizer requests. It's like they have nothing else to think about. You will be moisturizing their face, feet, and butt, along with putting chapstick on therr lips.
- Every now and then, one of the patient's bells will be answered by another aide before you can get there. He or she walks out a half hour later vowing never to help you out with call bells again.
- Patient drinks/eats only organic items because it's "healthier." You feel like asking, "What's the point?" since the patient is in renal failure, liver failure, and oh, BY THE WAY, is paralyzed and can't move this "healthy" body anyway.
- Meal times are a nightmare, involving multiple towels, spoons, and extremely slow feeding. Forget about getting anything else done.

Typical Results: 
a. You begin to delay or ignore their bell and think of it as ambient background noise.
b. When they ask you to adjust something, you do it crappily so that the next time they see you, they'll settle for a mediocre fix instead of perfection.
c. You ask the unsuspecting nurse if she can provide pm care while in the room with the paralyzed patient if you promise to do all the rest. She happily agrees. You dodge away before she can realize her mistake.

Degree of Difficulty
 Definite hard mode. While you may be incredibly pissed that they ask for the eighth time in one hour for you to readjust something they can't even feel, you can't show it. Besides that, you feel guilty for feeling it. For shit's sake, this human being can't move from the neck down. That's terrible. You know what's even more terrible? Giving in to rub lotion onto their corn-encrusted feet in a half-hour foot massage while your other thirteen patients are completely ignored.

In conclusion, paralyzed patients are never good unless they are your only patient.