Saturday, April 12, 2008

Crazy old bat stole my car keys.

The other day, some crazy old bat stole my keys. My housekeys, carkeys. Fortunately for me, I have a spare flat carkey in my wallet and my sister's got a copy of my housekeys.

How do I know she stole them? I don't for sure. I can tell you what happened, though.

I know that this crazy woman had to be tied down by yours truly to prevent her from ripping out two fat flank chest tubes, her peripheral iv, and her epidural catheter. She scratched me up. As I tried to get her changed out of her bloody hospital gown and into a clean one, I and my charge RN, Rita had to restrain her from crawlin out of bed naked and screaming. We got the blood cleaned up, the chest tube dressing reinforced, and her body and then eventually her hands tied down so she'd quit yankin on stuff placed for good reason into her body.

I know she tried to take the epidural keys, which I'd set on the bed as I fiddled with changing the epidural med (to something less likely to make her barking mad and paranoid). I noticed and asked, What are you doing? I don't think I listened to the answer, I just took the keys back out of where she was trying to bury them.

My keys were found two days later in the laundry bag. The laundry bags that are changed qshift. The ones that, had the keys been in there originally because I may have accidentally dropped them there, would have been either found on my shift or sent to the facility laundry several days ago, when I actually took care of the patient. But they were found yesterday by housekeeping. In the laundry basket. Nobody knows how they got there, two days after I'd lost them. One of my very kind and considerate colleagues locked them up in her locker.

Crazy ol bat.

I know I'm supposed to feel this well of compassion for this frail elderly woman who is medically complex, and confused, and going through a great deal of mental anguish not to mention that chest tubes HURT. I recall the moments when she said, after begging me to untie her, and me explaining it is not safe for her to do so...."I'm very disappointed in my daughter that she's allowing this to happen to me." It genuinely broke my heart. That frail old woman was absolutely aware that I'd tied her down; she felt shame and humiliation and at that moment, absolutely blamed her daughter for it. And she was disappointed. She was incapable of cognitively reasoning that she cannot pull out the tubes lodged into her chest, because she was utterly convinced that we were trying to kill her. At least, that's what the police officer said when he called the unit to tell us a Mrs. So and So had called 911 on us. (Thank you, Officer, no. Yes. I'll keep the phone out of reach until she's more oriented. Sorry to trouble you, thank you. Yes, good night.)

(I said to Carmen, an RN I know with a light heart & humor, "She called the cops on us." "Cool! Did they come?" It got me to giggle after all the blood and paranoia and stupid sturm and drang.)

And it's her daughter's fault, and she was very disappointed.

I'd been on the phone with same daughter many, many times that night to update her on her mother's condition, and the daughter explained the family history of dementia and odd bursts of paranoia, and how this happened on her mother's previous surgery. I could hear the daughter wring her hands, and ask what she should do, should she come down there? Would that help her?

I reassured the daughter that her mother appeared to be suffering from some confusion related to the recent anesthesia. How it would be easier on both of them for the mother to be angry at me. How there's nothing to be done but keep her mother from hurting herself and wait for it to clear. How the physicians were all aware of what was happening, and their plan was simply to wait and let it clear. How she should try and rest and come in the next morning.

And the mother, I'm sure, shot some stinging accusation at her daughter the next morning. Stinging words she thinks she means right now, and the daughter will really feel. I feel awful for them both because of that.

I know all these things. And I did feel genuine compassion at the time.

Then I realized the old bitch stole my keys.

Is it okay to be annoyed?


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RehabNurse said...

Yes, be very, very annoyed.

If I'd have lost mine, I'd still be hunting for them. I cannot get a spare key made for my car due to some transmitter thingy in the key itself.