Friday, February 8, 2013

The Crayzee Whisperer

Picture, if you will, the crazy Area 51 mad scientist in the movie "Independence Day".  Ok, don't bother; I'll just show you.

This was the face that caused a bunch of ruckus, yelling and shouting and intimidating our new secretary.  Never mind that the guy was in his 70's, Gil did it; he called police to help the man regain control.     It was very busy so he cooled his heels until I came on shift about an hour later. Yeah, sure send in the one nurse in the department LEAST likely to de-escalate an irate human being.

He was a cellulitis recheck and IV antibiotic patient who apparently didn't really understand that retrning to the ER for a reevaluation doesn't mean the following: being seen immediately and ahead of sicker patients, or the visit taking less than 30 minutes (especially if there is not an existing IV).  Here life often moves at the speed of paperwork, which I had some trouble accessing since Mr. Doe had been previously seen downtown.  I rapidly straightened it out and went to talk with him having been elected the Christian to step into the arena with the lions.

I introduced myself and told him what I was going to do, whereupon he launched into an accounting of how he had the cops called on him and wanted to know who did it.  He was pretty sure it was the doctor whom he referred to as "that putz"

Me: "Oh, I'm not sure.  I just came in, I heard that you were a little upset though.  I apologize for the wait"

Mr Doe was understandably angry, but tried very hard not to direct it to me: "I understand that it's not your fault.  It's unbelievable really.  It's like one big Kafka novel".

Me: "You're having your own private metamorphosis?"  It's the only Kafka I have read.  Not a fan, really.  The idea of a giant insect gave me bad dreams.

Mr. Doe: "No, no, it's the surrealism.  We're at the whim of the bureaucrats, pushing paper, making rules and decrees..."

He continued in this vein for some time while I nodded and smiled and said "Oh, sure", and "that's very interesting".

Mr. Doe had lots of interesting things to say, most of which seemed to be rambling.  "We would be arrested in 13 nations for saying anything about the Holocaust", having a diverse opinion would cost him tenure, how he had written books.  Some of it had a ring of truth to it, some not so much.

He seemed to have forgotten his earlier ire and warmed up to me, and by the time he was finished I had him eating out of my hand.  I was the greatest thing since sliced bread and he was going to speak to my boss about getting me a raise.  He apologized for scaring people but still harbored some animosity toward Gil.

"Ok, that's cool. I'm here tomorrow after 3 PM, so when you come back for your recheck ask for me and I'll get you right back to a room, mmmkay?"

The following day he arrived on schedule and asked for me, "the best nurse who works here".  Jules was horrified when I asked, "So, where are you on the Grumpy meter today?".  She had not seen that he was actually wearing a bright green  tshirt with a picture of Grumpy with a meter to measure his grumpiness.  He smiled mischievously and asked if "the Putz" was working today.