Monday, May 11, 2009

The Southern Belle

I had a patient last night who was a bit of a Southern Belle. She was one of those old ladies who treats their nurses (particularly their female nurses) like the hired help. I don't know why, but I get a huge kick out of it when my little old lady patients treat me like the hired help. I find it adorable and hilarious. I'm a real nut. Now, when I have 57 year old male patients who weigh 375 pounds and they treat me like the hired help (and call me darlin' to boot) like my patient from the night before; I'm not nearly so amused. So I guess I'm a bit of a sexist like that.
Anyway, my patient last night was a little tiny thing who had suffered from a cardiac arrest out on the regular hospital floor and had to intubated and defibrillated about 6 times. And she came through it kicking. She would order me around the room, having me fill up this cup, place that pillow, fluff her neck roll and adjust her bed to just the right position. Then she said, "I'll take my sleeping pill at 9 please" just as though she was ordering room service. I complied faithfully. When I showed up at 8:55 with her evening meds, just for the fun of it, I said, "I'm a few minutes early...I hope that's ok?" and she graciously forgave me. I think she actually became my slave at that moment. Because I'll tell you a little secret about those kinds of old ladies. They absolutely love it when you play along. It means so much to them, just to be able to feel a sense of control over their own little domain.
Early this morning as I was drawing some blood from this lady she inquired about my now visible "baby bump". "Is this your first?," she asked.
"No, I have an 11 month old at home."
"Goodness gracious!" she exclaimed. "I hope you're not planning on coming back to work after you have this one?"
(I am). "Oh, I don't know, we'll have to see how things go. I work nights, you know, so that my husband can take care of the baby while I'm at work. So it works out pretty well this way."
She sniffed. "Well, I just think it should be illegal for a mother to work outside the home when she has small children." That Southern accent. That sniff. That oh-so-condescending tone of censorship.
What? Quit my job and give up moments like that? I couldn't even begin to fathom it. I retreated in a haze of suppressed hilarity to share the comment with the other nursing staff, 99.9% of whom are "mothers with young children" who are most disobediently working outside the home some 36-60 hours a week. HI-larious. Take me away Scarlet O'Hara.
Sometimes I think the hospital pays me too much for working there, considering all the absolutely priceless moments I get to experience in the wee hours of the morning. Then I remember the 375 pounder who felt absolutely no compunction at all over asking his pregnant nurse (who weighs a mere fraction, though a growing fraction, of what he does) to roll his ass over, wipe his butt, sprinkle it with powder, change his pad, straighten his sheet, remove the pad, put the pad back, etc... at 25 minute intervals all throughout the night till she thought she was going to drop the fetus right there on the spot in his nasty germ infested room...and I realize they don't really pay me too much. Definitely not too much...

1 comment:

Rene' said...

i love old people....i wanna be like that lady someday!!! hahahah