February 27, 2014

on being a nurse . . . and listening

It's funny how there are certain patients that will always stick out in your mind.

I remember a lot of patients from my orientation and new grad days.

I could tell you way too many stories, but I will stick to one or two for the sake of the reader. :)

(and thank you for reading - otherwise I wouldn't keep writing)

This gentleman was admitted to the ER, was found to have a dangerously high blood sugar, and was transferred to my unit.

He needed an insulin infusion, and so he had to come to the ICU.

He had been stressed out and upset, didn't want to be on the monitor (understandable, neither would I), and was just having a bad day all around. I guess it's always a bad day when you have to be admitted to the hospital.

Mind you, he was also the equivalent of Biggie Smalls' cousin . . . I later found out that he was a rapper/MC, but he was also the same size as Biggie.

So, I start my shift, unsuspecting of anything . . . and meet my friend Mr. Smalls. I immediately knew I didn't want to mess with him, when I noticed that every time he moved, the entire bed moved as well. I also noticed that his hands could probably close around my throat in one smooth lunge if he got riled up . . . but tried not to think of that too much.

Before I could even do any kind of assessment like a good little nurse, he started telling me all of his frustrations since he came to the hospital.

I was a captive audience, maaayybe because of the fear I was trying to keep hidden, but I digress.

I stood at his bedside, listened, and started to empathize with him.

The team caring for him, myself included, did the best we could to get his blood sugar under control so that he could leave the unit . . . but he had to stay more than 24 hours, to his disliking.

But you know what I noticed about him, and why he stuck in my memory?

All I did that morning was stand at his side and listen to him. No medical interventions. Just some therapeutic communication (like they teach you in nursing school, right?) - that's all he really wanted in that moment.

He thanked me for being the first person who made him feel like he was heard since his admission. I watched this once intimidating individual transform his demeanor in front of my eyes.

And I watched what a small part of me thought to be true all along . . . under that tough exterior was a giant teddy bear.

He ended up being one of the sweetest patients I have cared for. The day he left our unit, I was on break when he was being discharged.

 I wasn't his primary nurse that day, but he asked to see me before he left. That may be the only time I was glad to be interrupted during my lunch. (nurse's lunches are no joke. we need that 30 minutes!))


1 comment:

  1. I can't wait till your next day off! J

    ReplyDelete

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