Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fat Chance You'll Catch Me Again

"Are you sure this thing is locked??" Ms. Peevish O'Bese whined about the stretcher as she tried to use it for support and it gave easily.
"No, ma'am, the stretcher is actually locked..." I observed, you just weigh more than 500 lb and its locking system can't sustain the effort of you trying to stand up.

I had been asked by a nurse to help bed 1 to the bathroom and oh, by the way, we also want labs and an EKG while you're at it.  When I pulled aside the curtain, I realized with dismay that I had been signed up for a bigger project than advertised. I was met with the whiniest voice telling me she had to PEE NOW, a bedpan on the chair and a distressed pair of eyes on a body I knew I couldn't move, that couldn't rotate on the bed far enough for me to even insert a bedpan, that would have crushed and actually broken the plastic bedpan. I'd seen worse from smaller patients.

"Please, I need to pee. I need to pee now. I want to walk to the bathroom, but I don't want to fall. I've fallen 4 TIMES since I've been at this place. Oh God, I don't want fall again."
 "Ok, Ms. O'Bese, give me one minute while I run for a commode."

I returned 30 seconds later to her screaming about how she needs to go, Oh God, somebody help her, please help her, nobody cares, etc etc.
"Ms. O'bese, didn't I tell you I'd be back to help you? Please stop yelling."
"Oh, it's just that nobody ever listens here. This place sucks."
I ignored her running commentary about how my workplace sucks and set up the bedpan. She eyed it, "I'm not gonna fit in that, Oh God, it's not gonna work but I need to pee now. You don't understand. I NEED to PEE."
"Ok, well, how about we try it, because you've no other option right now."
"This place sucks. Don't you have the bigger ones?"
"In my 30 seconds searching and finding one (which is miraculous on its own), this is the best I could find (I had picked the bigger/sturdier one), and we don't carry bariatric commodes down here in the ED (I hadn't seen one for months). I'm sorry."
"This place sucks. I'm never coming here again. You guys aren't equipped to handle your customers." She struggled to pull herself up. I unlatched the bar and helped her swing her huge, swollen, weeping legs over. She tried to stand up by pressing against the bed, which gave against her immense force and, frightened, she sat back down and wailed, pounding her fists on the bed.  I persuaded her to try again. As she collapsed onto the commode, her backside was too wide to fit entirely, so she was wedged in it. Wailing and cursing she yelled at me to pull her nightgown up.  I did so, and she began to pee, filling the commode, then leaking all over the floor. It was time to call for help.  I beckoned the nurse who assigned me this mammoth job, who grudgingly came in. "You'll need gloves," I told her.

Nurse Snark's eyes widened and she immediately began to lay pillowcases and towels on the ground.  The whiny, peevish voice raised in volume and pitch.  "AREN'T YOU EVEN GOING TO HELP ME?"
"I'm not going to fall. We have to clean this up first."
"Oh, so you don't want to fall, but I have to."
We ignored her and realized the job required more people.  Nurse Snark called out, "I need 2 gentlemen to come in here to help." Two of our new residents came in to behold the sight of Ms. O'Bese stuck in the commode with her nightgown up, smelly urine all over the ground with towels haphazardly arranged, and Nurse Snark and me trying to steady the bed.  Eventually we did get her back to the bed, where she started yelling again about how much we sucked.  "Don't forget the labs and EKG," Nurse Snark reminded as she scooted out the room, leaving me with Ms. O'Bese.  Great.

I actually managed to talk her down, and a short while later, she apologized to me, "I didn't mean to take it out on you. I don't like her (Nurse Snark). It's like she owns the place or something." Hmm, ok.  But it was the end of my shift, and I wasn't about to stay to help with any more bathroom incidents with Ms. O'Bese, who must live a very stressful life.  How else does a person's voice get that way?


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