Playing Doctor




Initial Visit?

Wednesday, June 15

Uncynical Wednesdays:
You Said I’d Be Lying If I Said It Wasn’t Easy

I was evaluating a seventy-five year old black woman who was found living in filth and unable to get off the floor. Apparently her neighbor called fire-rescue and when they arrived, she threatened them. They had to forcibly remove her from her home. I got called to admit her into the hospital for urosepsis and dehydration.

When I met her in the ED she was combative, threatening to call the police on me if I didn’t leave her living room. I asked if I could listen to her heart, and when she said nothing, I placed my stethoscope on her chest. Her hands were restrained—tied—to the stretcher, but she had enough leeway to grab my stethoscope and pull it—and my ears by extension—close to her.

‘Ptew,’ she said.

‘Ma’am?’ I said, a few inches from her face. I could have freed myself from her weak grasp, but might have hurt her in doing so.

‘Ptew.’

‘Ma’am,’ I said quietly, ‘you’re going to have to let go of me.’

‘Ptew.’

‘Let go sweetheart.’

‘I’m trying,’ she said, ‘to spit in your face.’

‘I know, honey.’ I cooed, ‘but you haven’t fed yourself in days; you’re drier than sand.’

She let go and I walked into the nurse’s station.

‘Can we get some fluids into that poor darling?’ I said, writing orders for a two liter bolus. ‘She can’t even spit in my face.’

2 Comments:

6/15/2005
Blogger Erik writes:

It’s worth mentioning that after she got those fluids she turned into a storybook grandmother, calling me sweetie and thanking me for taking care of her.

 


6/15/2005
Blogger Bewareoftheblog writes:

I love this story. It's the golden rule exemplified. "You're dryer than sand" is my new favorite expresion.

 


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