Friday, August 19, 2011
Wormy or Crazy?
She had fallen after fainting and couldn't bear any light to touch her eyes. I put a rolled towel over her eyes, much to her relief, and began taking her clothing off to put her on the monitor. My gloved hands were orange after touching her. I realized with a jolt that it was her heavy dose of spray-tan.
She recounted the story of how she fell, then calmly interjected "I know it sounds crazy, but I have worms under my skin." She showed us the pockmarks from where they 'broke out of her skin'. They came out in a ball from her reproductive tract, and when she stuck a (gloved, she added) finger up her anus, she found them there too.
She told us about how she would cover her legs with paper towels at night, then find puncture marks in her skin where the worms would break out during the night. They looked like fingernail picking pockmarks, but I just watched the spectacle of her trying to convince the doctors about her worm problem.
In order to get urine, we had to walk her to the bathroom so she could use a straight stick catheter- apparently, this is how she always urinated.
A nurse commented that Ms. Wormy was the kind of crazy that should be locked behind padded walls. I wasn't sure- but I sure wanted to see the worms she was talking about!
Ms. Wormy wore dentures at an age most women still can have children. She was a near impossible stick, but I got her labs using our smallest gauge needle. She showed us her ileostomy, pulling it tight so we could see all the fibrous material floating about. They were worms, she insisted, I pass thousands of them a day. She pulled my hand to feel the coarse roughness under her skin where "worms were nesting."
How did such a young woman end up with so many problems? I didn't know, but I kept stopping by her room to listen to her terror about the worms infesting her body.
When I left 8 hours later, nobody had lifted a finger to examine her for these worms she kept talking about coming out of her nether regions. Was I the only one who fell for some sort of joke? She seemed too genuinely scared to be making it all up...
Nevertheless, I took an extra hot shower when I got home. All her talk of worms made me scrub harder than usual... you know, in case the crazy was catching.
Edit: Later, I looked up some symptoms. She might be a meth addict- it would explain the anxiety, itching under the skin, and dentures... but I don't know. So strange.