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11/09/09

Permalink 03:42:14 pm by cassie, Categories: Announcements [A]

Had a number of rather "odd" patients today. There were numerous episodes of unprovoked tears, bizarre repetitive questions, multiple viewings of the floor's coumadin teaching video... all within the first hour I got on the floor.

Anyways, I always try to give it the benefit of the doubt, you know, give these poor peeps a break. They just went through surgery - pump brain and all that - give them a break, Cass, you big mean jerk. I know, I know. See how gracious I am? So I go over coumadin video again, I pat backs and wipe tears and apologize for my inability to allow my diabetic in failure to drink a giant extra-extra from Dunkins. I do my best, okay?

There is a point, though, where the family comes in and you shake hands and then, all of a sudden, you see that maybe this is not a new thing for the patient, and Weird is just the world some people live in. It's an odd, bizarre, strange world, but it's their world nonetheless. I knew that moment had come for me today when my patient's adult daughter asked me if her mother could shower at home and get water on her chest incision. I gave the lowdown and explained that they use a cousin of superglue to hold the incision closed. I emphasized that it holds the wound together very well and will come off on its own.

This is where is gets weird.

Daughter (adult, working, drove motorcycle to hospital... presumably functioning?) gets an interesting glint in her eye and describes in great joyous detail her enjoyment of using superglue to play with as a pre-teen. Super glue spread on her hands, then a clasping of the hands and then ripping apart of the hands and, "Oh, it didn't usually take off too much skin... *glintyeye smile*... I was an odd child!!!"

I can't say I would/could/should argue with that.

But then.. what to say at all? So I stood there, mute, reeling from this story describing what seemed to be an incredibly intriguing activity and, believe it or not, I did not know what to say. I couldn't say, "I love that too!" or, "Gotta try THAT sometime!" Acknowledging out loud the possibility that this might be something worth trying in the most dire, most tragic of boredoms seemed a tenuous truth at best. What's worse, I felt my childhood fears of peer pressure creeping back in: "If the cool kids see me hanging out with this strange person, will they think I LIKE strange people and, by proxy, am strange myself?" Also troubling was the statement where the daughter referred to herself as "odd," which was not something I felt in any position to dispute, knowing only three things about her: mom's medical history, superglue fun and her apparent ability to drive a motor vehicle. I fished for any viable response - anything, really - and came up with nothing, so I cut the conversation short the way I do in those instances where I have no words and I am extremely mortified with embarrassment: complete and utter avoidance.

"Oh. Well. Drive safely!"

And then she was gone, and as she was walking through the doors of the unit, I locked eyes with those of one of our cardiac educators. She gave me a look that said she understood exactly what I was thinking. And as I turned to get on with my day I thought that thing I've thought many times before in situations such as these:

Thank you, Mum and Dad, for not being utterly insane.

5 comments

Comment from: Heidi [Visitor] Email
Heidiwhooooooa that is really weird.
awkwarrd.
and kinda... icky...
11/10/09 @ 19:03
Comment from: Heidi [Visitor] Email
Heidithis post needs more comments. where are all your commenters?!
11/24/09 @ 04:22
Comment from: Mista A. [Visitor] Email
Mista A.I never tried that glue trick. At least not on purpose. Besides, Superglue was expensive when I was a kid. I could not afford to smear it on my hands.
11/29/09 @ 06:33
Comment from: Mista A. [Visitor] Email
Mista A.I did meet someone who superglued her lips closed (by accident). She was a pastor's wife...
11/29/09 @ 13:59
Comment from: paperboy [Visitor] Email
paperboyThis is eight months gone by now, but yes, thank the Lord for Sue and Al, who bestowed all kinds of craziness upon their children but knew exactly when to draw the line. As they say in the South, "I love all y'all."

06/08/10 @ 01:36
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I like to multi-task: wife, writer, nurse, Christian, ne'er do well. I do all with equal gusto.

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