Monday, March 5, 2012

Watch out for WOLFS

It's been another weird weekend over at the hospital, y'all. As I've probably mentioned on here before, weekends are the time when all my nice, normal, elective joint replacement patients are not there. So weekends are when I am either floated to another unit or I stay on my own unit but we get atypical patients there (OB-GYN issues, medical problems that don't involve bones, etc.)

Last night I got sent to another unit to do a one-on-one with a very large, schizophrenic patient with a history of methamphetamine use. I'll just let that sink in for a few minutes, shall I?

I spent 8 hours in a hospital room alone with someone who, on paper at least, I would normally sprint away from.

And boy, was it an unusual night.

As I soon discovered, my patient had quite a fascination with "wild animals". Since my patient was a little edgy, I took this person on about eighteen million walks around the floor to try to burn off some nervous energy, toting along the IV pole with us each time. On one of these jaunts, a framed poster of a baby animal that looked like some sort of canine caught my new friend's eye.

"Oh, is that a hyena? Look at him! He's so nice and symmetrical. I've never seen a hyena. One time I saw a wild animal that was like a bobcat or a wildcat or a mountain cat. I saw it walk by the window here too [note; we were NOT on a ground floor level]. One time I saw an Orca whale in a lake. They don't usually live in lakes, so I took a picture of it."

This proved to be a fruitful topic, so my patient thoughtfully provided me with more tidbits throughout the evening:
"If you were by the woods you might get picked off by a wild animal. Like some wolfs. Or mountain bobcats. You should really be careful. If a wild wolf comes out of the woods, you give it a cookie. If it takes the cookie, it'll just, like, go back into the woods. If it doesn't take the cookie, point to the lake. It'll go jump in the lake. I saw that happen but then the bobcat got eaten by an orca whale. In the lake. The whale just ate it all up. It was weird."

My patient had the flattest affect during all this, and consistently called wolves "wolfs" very clearly. I checked in with a nurse at one point to find out if perhaps this person was messing with me, and nope, the nurse said this patient was a bit of a 'frequent flyer' and advised me not to laugh at any advice or stories the patient told me.

We made it all through my shift just fine. Then tonight, in the cafeteria, I saw another CNA who works that unit. She said that my wild-animal-expert patient was pacing the floor, ranting, and attempting to get dressed in all sorts of things because the patient believed it was time to leave.

WHEW! I dodged a bullet there, didn't I? So glad I got floated last night instead of tonight!

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