Friday, September 23, 2011

I Would Love to Go to England if the People Were All Like Him

26 Hours of interrupted sleep later, I think I've recovered somewhat from the splitting headache and nausea all through yesterday.  Whew.  I rarely get headaches and forgot how hard it is to get rid of them! Just imagining the pounding behind my temples makes me nauseous again. The mixed-up dreams and fitful sleep were the worst part though.

The good part of this experience is that I have refilled my empathy pool for people with headaches.    At work, I can generally tell if a patient is legitimately compromised, so I would turn off the lights and let a nurse know about the state of the patient. Other times, I might receive a surly or hopeful demand for that "drug that begins with a d", in which case, I just backpedal quickly out of the room and alert the nurse about the narcotic request.

The other day, I had the most delightful old man. I walked in to see Mr. Dickens lying on his back, a large bleeding "egg" over his left eye. Ever so polite, he brought out my good humor with his mild British accent and tongue-in-cheek charm.

"So did you get that shiner from a fall or a fight, Mr. Dickens?" I asked.
"Oh, I fell, definitely not a fight," he chortled. "Excuse, me, but if you get a chance, I was wondering, I've been here all day and was hoping to get something to eat."
"You know, I will have to check with your doctor about that- if you have to get a surgery, then you can't be eating."
"Oh yes, miss, I understand that they told me they are reconsidering the need for surgery."

I went out of my way to find a vegetarian option for this LOM, and when I presented him with an egg salad sandwich, he was delighted, using all the cutlery gingerly and politely.  It suddenly hit me how often I've seen patients wolf down their food and appreciated little Mr. Dickens ever the more.

"So what was your profession, Mr. Dickens?"
"Well, back in England many years ago, I was a professional voice recorder for books on tape."
"How wonderful! I used to read a lot of Dickens, Thackeray..."
"Dickens is delightful, isn't he? You sound like you like a lot of the Victorian literature."
"Yes, I do, indeed. What an interesting career you must have had."
"Yes, it definitely was."

I gingerly cleaned all the blood still draining from his eye, which was puffed shut. I had to rub out with peroxide what had dried and settled in his gray hair.  He was patient with my gentle and didn't say he felt any pain when I asked, though his eye was puffy with bleeding.  His accent was charming and conversation nuanced.  It's not every day I could gush over classical literature with someone.

Oh, Mr. Dickens, you made my day so much better, though you probably thought you were being fussy and making me busy.  Wishing you well.


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