Thursday, June 18, 2009


As promised...a little late since tonight is the first night I got off shift at a relatively sane hour in several weeks.

A few weeks ago, we took a patient home from BMH (Big Military Hospital). It was hot and humid, and his apartment had a total of 25 or so stairs to navigate, from sidewalk to apartment. We used the Reeves, since he was weak and we weren't sure of his ability to maintain an upright posture long enough to get him upstairs.

So, before we leave any hospital to take a patient home, I make sure to ask the nurse if there is someone home waiting for them. I would hate to take a patient (especially one who can't really care for themselves) home and leave them alone. The nurse in question for this particular patient called the apt and got no answer. Several calls later, the social worker avowed that she had spoken to the wife, and that she was home. OK, so off we went.

My partner usually runs to the house to prepare the way for whatever form of transportation we are using for the patient. It took him a while to come down from this one. Mrs Patient had been asleep. Ok...

So up the steps we go, with the patient in the Reeves, and his wife chattering at us the whole way (btw...wife was easily 30 or more years younger than the patient. Not judging...just sayin') about how we have to be careful, and how much work she has to do with him, and so on. Again, temp is around 90, and there is no AC in the building. Bald Partner looks like he's taken a shower with his shirt on.

We get up and get him in bed so she can 'clean him up.' She's trying to clean him up, and is ignoring my attempts to get her to sign my paperwork. Then the phone rings, and she answers that, flopping down on the couch to argue with the daughter who is screaming at her that the man needs to be in a home (I'd say he does), and so on. She hangs up, and goes back to the patient, ranting all the time about the daughter, and how much work the patient is and so on. She talks to him roughly, and treats him roughly, pulling him around to work all the sheets out from under him.

I finally get my signatures (after she ignores what I'm saying about signing her own name because she's too busy complaining about how much work he causes her) and escape to the AC in the truck.

Compare that to this on the same day:

Elderly man from BMH, also going home. The call home is answered by the wife, who says that she is there and waiting anxiously for him. We arrive, and are met on the street by the neighbor who cuts their grass. He takes the bags of belongings for us, and my partner makes sure we can easily get around the house. We get the patient inside (less stairs, plus ability to use stair chair), and while he's debating where he wants us to get him to, his wife nearly pushes my partner out of the way so she can hug him. The patient decides to go to the bedroom, where he has a chair in front of the window AC unit, and can watch TV. We get him in there, admonishing him to be exceedingly careful when he gets up, get our signatures, and leave with the sound of the wife, patient and neighbor thanking us. As I'm leaving, I hear the wife asking her husband if he's hungry, and does he want a sandwich.

Amazing to me. Two families, just a few streets apart, just a few years apart in age (well, the patient's at least). And yet such a dichotomy of reactions, I'm left fairly stunned.

As an aside, we took the first patient back to the hospital this week. He was moderately stronger, so we used the stair chair this time. Thankfully, it was also much cooler. The ER at BMH knows him and his wife well.


In other news, my new netbook came today! I got it for school, so I don't have to keep removing our primary computer, and so that Fiance can have a computer when he gets home from work should I need to crash at school one night. Now all I need to do is switch out the hard drive in it for a slightly larger one. I don't think I'll be doing this on my own. Foo has great computer foo. I'll get him to help me tomorrow when we go to install the window AC unit in their house. Their HVAC went all kerflooey.

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