In an outfit I would prefer not to wear that only sensible shoes make any sense I take my “brain” and assess everyone on my list. My train wreck of a patient has a history of biting and hitting. I would be angry too if I had a tube out of every orifice, couldn’t talk unless someone plugged my hole and couldn’t eat so I don’t really blame her although I am kind of afraid of her.
Refusing everything I try to do she bares her teeth and tries to hit me twice. Then tries to bite me. Her regiment is complicated and she is not my only patient that day. I channel the calm and friendly persona that I am familiar with but dont’ associate with often. Hours wear on and I try to make her like me. Well, really, my goal is to not be injured. I keep telling her that even though she doesn’t like me, that I like her and its okay to be mad. I chastise her family member for talking about her in front of her-sticking up for her. I do the bare minimum because that is all she will allow. She won’t use the device that can allow her to talk and expects me to read her lips. I try and try-bending over her face trying to decipher what she says but not getting to close making her feel claustrophobic. I smile and say thank you and please. Over and over.
The afternoon goes on and on and little by little she lets up. She lets me do things with a grudging annoyance. It’s a small triumph which I savor. Finally, late in the afternoon she uses her call bell to summon me and via lip-reading and many wrong guesses I see and understand she is telling me that I have done everything right that day. She says thank you.
I jump up and down because I am a super tool and can not hide it at work. I say YAY and thank you. I tell her she likes me and I can tell. Ha! She sort of smiles. Well, she shakes her fist at me and rolls her eyes which is like a smile from her.
The next day she tells me that she only used the call bell to see if I would come, and that I came. Running to her. Which I did. She almost really smiles this time. Later while dressing her wound I tell her if she doesn’t watch it I will hug and kiss her. As I autograph her dressing she is shaking her fist at me again-her version of a high five- and I tell her to stop bumping my arm and I will draw a flower on her dressing.
And I do.