Sunday, September 18, 2011
I got to work today in Valhalla, the Emergency Room section above the rest, upstairs in an area resembling an actual hospital wing, It always smells like fried food, is bright, cheery, and actually has windows. Up here, there is signal for the cell phones, patients have their own rooms, bathrooms, and a television to remedy the long hours of sitting there waiting for test results. Patients are happier up here, and so are we.
A few weeks ago up in Valhalla, I had a tough-guy patient. Wiry, with a sleeveless black shirt, a mustache-beard, and bald, he was the epitome of "biker". He talked in a folksy but brusque way and was an all-in-all stereotypical middle-aged biker dude. Imagine my surprise when I walked by his room to hear, blasting, the most beautiful Beethoven quartet. I smiled to myself and listened outside the door for a few minutes- I miss hearing this kind of music. I remember chastising myself mentally for stereotyping. Maybe even biker dudes had that sort of introspective, sentimental side to them.
Today, when I was taking vital signs on a patient, I heard elevator-grade flute music playing loudly from the room next door. Curious, I walked in and asked the patient if she was playing the music to calm herself. "Are you kidding?" she stuttered in an agitated way, "it's a pain in the *** and I can't even turn it off."
I checked the controller- the tv wouldn't turn on or off. The volume controls for the music would only get louder. And the music was awful. The off-button was not working. The only way I could get the music to turn off was by unplugging the whole TV set-up.
I couldn't help but laugh, remembering my tough biker guy sitting in the room, captive audience to very loud Classical string quartets for 8 hours. I don't know if he was enjoying it or gritting his teeth trying to jam all the buttons on the controller, to no avail. Poor man, I hope it was the former.