Cherry Chapstick

While taking my prerequisites to enter nursing school I held a job as a cardiographic technician at the local hospital. I was responsible for performing EKGs, stress tests and EEGs. EEGs was my least favorite task at work but a necessary evil since we were such a small hospital.


One day an order came down from the inpatient unit for an EEG on a 40-something-year-old man. I got my supplies and machine and headed upstairs as the patient's nurse told me that it should be done portable.

I arrived at the room to find a pleasant, awake and coherent 40-something-year-old white man in his bed. Now typically I was not the conversationalist (something I am glad to say I am now) but this gentleman was very easy to talk to or should I say listen to (he did most of the talking). He spoke of his wife and children, his business, his church and even his choice for president the entire time I was measuring his head and hooking him up to the electrodes.

When the time came for him to lay still and quiet so I could get my tracing he initially complied. Now, having been in the room that entire time talking with the patient my lips were dry so I applied my cherry chapstick that I always carried with me. About two minutes later I began to pick up some muscle tension in the tracing. I asked the patient to remain still. A few minutes passed and the same thing occurred. After asking him the third time to remain still I decided to verify that he was indeed comfortable enough to comply with my request. He assured me the bed was fine but stated: "You've done something to me."

Now, I'm thinking that he is referring to the medication the nurse had given him or to the leads attached to his head. Patients frequently think that they are receiving some sort of shock when attached to all those wires (thank you Hollywood). I explained that the machine was not doing anything to him and asked if we were going to be able to finish the test. He then stated, "Yes, but with someone else please you're turning me on." Out of shock, I think, I asked him to repeat himself. He said that whatever perfume I had put on had turned him on and he thought maybe I should leave the room for a minute!

Do you know that he was talking about my chapstick!! :no: I had never encountered this sort of 'situation' before. What choice did I have but to leave the room at this point? I informed the nurse of the situation and she had the nerve to ask if I could "see" if he was turned on! :nono:

I left the floor and retreated to my nurse manager thinking that she would save me.....wrong. I got the "You're going to be a nurse and need to learn to deal with difficult/different/mental health patients". My rebuttal of 'I didn't know he was a mental health patient his diagnosis was syncope/ headaches' got me nowhere and she accompanied me back to the room.

When we arrived the patient had calmed down and said I could complete the study but talked the entire time. I didn't care I just wanted to get out of the room. I can honestly say that that was the fastest I had ever unhooked someone from the EEG machine.

About a week later, I encountered the patient in the hallway being taken for an MRI by a fellow colleague. He yelled down the hall at me asking what perfume did I wear. About five minutes later my department phone rang, it was my MRI friend wanting to know what perfume I was wearing:mad: When I told her it was cherry chapstick she started laughing and said she was wearing fruity body spray. He had apparently pulled the same stunt during the MRI with her!:bugeyes:

To this day I no longer wear scented lip treatments and certainly do not wear fruity body sprays either!:D

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