This is hard for me to admit.......but I've finally met the one patient for whom I cannot muster even a scintilla of compassion.
He is a troll of a little man who is dx'ed with multiple psych disorders, and he has been making life hell for every staff member of my assisted-living community in the four months, nine days, and eight-and-a-half hours since he's been here. (But who's counting, right?)
I've never been in this position before, didn't even think the person existed for whom I could feel nothing but revulsion. After all, I had plenty of compassion for the guy when he first moved in; I just figured he'd been dealt a bad hand in life, and all he needed was a little TLC and the right medications. But now that I've been dealing with this filthy, perverted, manipulative, disgusting pig of a man for what seems like an eternity, I have finally learned that even my
compassion goes only so far, and because he has the luck of the Devil and I can't get him OUT of my building, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to be an effective nurse for the other residents of the community, who deserve my care and attention so much more than he does.
I won't bore everyone with the details of this character's defective reasoning; suffice it to say that he is the first person I've ever met in whom I cannot find even one redeeming quality. He is whiney, selfish, vulgar, smelly, rude, crude, lewd, attention-seeking, disrespectful of the other residents and of personal boundaries, and he pretends to be crazier than he actually is. Nor are we the only facility that has been victimized by this pathetic excuse for a human being: in the past 11 years he's burned through every local resource there is.
Not one single hospital from Portland to Ashland will admit him for psych reasons, not even when he's caught putting out cigarettes on his hand or slamming his fingers in his bathroom door for attention. He is SO far beyond the scope of assisted living---I don't think even the DSM-IV has a diagnosis that fits what this man is---and his doctors won't help, his case manager won't help, the police won't help, the mental-health people won't help.....they've all had enough and have washed their hands of him. I wish I could too.
I have lost more hours of sleep than I care to count because of this piece of work. Some days he takes up fully 75% of my time on the job; the other 78 residents get only 25%. Staff call me frantically in the night because he's become "unresponsive" after being asked to get out of the employee break room where he's been stealing workers' cell phones. They call me because he is exposing himself in the dining room, trying to get into other residents' rooms @ 0200, smoking in the foyer, breaking into the kitchen, pouring bleach on the carpet, banging his head against the wall, saying sexually inappropriate things to the younger female aides......and then, when these actions don't get him the attention he thinks he deserves, he pretends to fall and knock himself out, or does his fainting-goat routine, or he just plain verbally abuses and threatens everyone within earshot.
Yes, I've talked until I'm blue in the face, but my administrator will not give him a 30-day move-out notice "because he'll just end up on the street." Well, it's taken me almost 53 years to develop a layer of cynicism, but now I get that there are a few people who perhaps deserve
to be on the street........or in a kennel of some sort, with others of their ilk, where their basic needs for food and shelter are met and they are just housed until they die.
This is a horrible place for me to be, as I've always looked on the bright side and made a special point of searching for the good in people that others never took the time to find. But now that I've finally met my match, the term 'compassion fatigue' suddenly makes so much sense that it's frightening. I don't wish this feeling on anyone; I talk to God nearly every day on the way to work and ask Him to help me find a shred of humanity in this grotesque caricature of a man. But hope is fading fast, and guilt is taking its place.