So why is this old 1979 ad for a rock band on my professional blog?
Because I’ve had the, um…pardon my language, “hots” for Steve Perry for 21 years. (For the uninitiated he is the one on the far left.)
And because every single doctor and nurse I have worked with has gotten to take care of someone famous.
I always “just miss” someone.
My only claim to fame is that I got to hold a real Super Bowl ring back in the early 80s.
Sadly, the owner is no longer with us.
But will the rest of you famous people kindly come into the ER when I’m working?
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was an elderly patient. Tiny, petite and frail. Ninety-something. Bedridden most of the time, her caregivers sent her to an ER when they happened to notice a change in her vital signs, along with a depressed level of consciousness.
She wasn’t, as health care givers sometimes say, “out of it”. In fact, she mumbled something to her nurse about a “mother picking someone up”. “Your mother?”, the nurse inquired. At which point the patient opened her eyes and said, rather clearly, “My dear, I am over ninety years old. My mother is dead. I’m talking about your mother!”
Oh. Well that’s different.
The tiny, elderly patient was with it enough to cooperate with a foley catheter insertion.
And to thank her nurse.
When undisturbed, the elderly patient would snore. And some of her vital signs would change, necessitating a bit of oxygen by nasal cannula.
As the care of the patient progressed, it was noted by a health care giver that that patient had on many medicinal patches. Patches that could account for a decreased level of consciousness. Patches that are often used for chronic pain conditions.
These could certainly account for the decreased mentation. It needed to be ruled out.
Would she wake up if a very tiny amount of a medication was given to this tiny, elderly lady?
A medication that would block the effectiveness of these patches for a brief 20-30 minute period?
She went into withdrawl within sixty seconds.
Every osteoporotic-related pain receptor in the poor woman’s body blasted wide open.
She cried . She writhed in agony. She shook, curled up in a fetal position as she held the hands of her nurse and recited continual “Hail Mary”s. This poor woman went from sleep to incomprehensible agony without ever understanding what happened.
The nurse calmly and repeatedly assured the patient that this was temporary, and her pain would soon be gone.
The nurse was not calm inside. Indeed, she was nauseated at the suffering she was witnessing. In fact, had caused. The nurse kept down the lump that was forming in her throat. She held the patient’s hands and prayed with her.
Twenty-to-thirty minutes was all it would take and she would be painfree again.
It took an entire hour.
The patches that were so necessary for her comfort finally kicked back in and the patient once again appeared relaxed and with a depressed level of consciousness.
But not that depressed.
Upon hearing her nurse sneeze as she was being transfered to her hospital bed, she said “Honey, take care of that cold. You don’t want to get sick!”
The patient may or may not exist.
And the nurse may or may not have held in the tears when she got home that morning.