I remember a patient I took care of YEARS ago who was admitted with a broken leg and ruptured bladder. He had been to an AA meeting, gone out and gotten drunk and walked into the pathway of an oncoming car. I worked straight nights then...the 7P to 7A shift.
This man was usually compliant and oriented during the day but nighttime was a different story. But at least he was "pleasantly confused". As in, if he pulled out an IV or began yelling at the characters on TV, he would apologize when I asked him to quiet down; saying, "I'm sorry, I forgot, I'll hush." And he'd even help you to find another vein...he knew where all his "good" one were! But eventually, he'd start talking back to the TV and I'd have to go back and remind him that he was in the hospital and to be quiet.
One night, he was especially rowdy and upset. It was the night that Southfork caught on fire on an episode of Dallas....I told you this was YEARS ago! He kept yelling, "my room's on fire, help, help!" I tried to reorient him (as the other staff were assuring the other patients that their hospital floor was NOT on fire) to which he responded, "Well, somebody needs to tell JR that!" Needless to say, we eventually worked that out and he stopped shouting that his room was on fire. After going in and out of his room numerous times to ask him to be quiet, I had an idea. Now, this goes against all we know about reorienting the patient, but I was desparate. The last time he began to call out, I clicked on the intercom in his room and said in my deepest booming voice, "*** ***, this is God. You need to be quiet and go to sleep now." To which he responded, "OK". Never heard another peep from him the rest of the night and he slept like a baby.
He eventually healed and was sent home; however, he was readmitted later and when I came to work, the other staff told me that his MOTHER (this patient was in his 40's) was requesting to see me when I came on duty. Not knowing what to expect, I was rather nervous but went to his room straightaway. His mother looked at the patient and said "Go ahead...tell her." The patient looked at me with his downcast eyes and said in a small quiet voice, "I'm sorry for the way I acted last time I was here." I assured him (and his mother) that I never thought he was a problem and I knew that he had no control over his actions before.
The odd thing was...I never saw his mother before that night....she had always visited him during the day. Anyway, this patient and I had a bond and he requested me as his nurse for the rest of his stay. The funny thing is that no matter how confused he was during that first hospitalization, he always knew my name, who I was and why I was there. And that's what makes being a nurse so rewarding.
Last edit by sirI on Oct 29, '08