"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sheer Brilliance

So I have this 86 year old patient. When I first got her a couple days ago, I thought she was a little..."slow", because she never talked, didn't listen to us, did whatever she wanted to do, was confused, and kind of had a constant "dazed and confused" look to her. But after spending a couple of nights with her, I realize she's actually remarkably sharp.

We put her as a fall risk because my hospital flips out if anyone falls and we do everything we can to prevent falls. So basically even if you're 20 and in for the night, we'll find a way to peg you as a "fall risk". But regardless- This little lady was the epitome of what a fall risk should be. Confused, elderly, likes to pull her IVs out, unsteady on her feet, gets up on her own without calling, etc. Complete, high fall risk. So our hospital standard protocol is to put these little alarms on these patients that ring pretty loudly if it releases from the patient (i.e. the patient got up from the bed). The alarm is done by a string (old school) and is connected from patient to bed.

The alarm definitely worked for a couple days. It went off so many times that I was beginning to hear that tune in my sleep off-shift. But she was so active that there were times when we found her flying free around the room without the alarm having gone off because it wasn't put on. So even though we could see she was definitely getting her strength back and she was walking OK around the room by herself, we still wanted her to be a high risk because well......see above. We like everyone on fall precautions.

Well, last night I had to hand it to her. When I first got on shift, (literally- first five minutes), she was found sitting naked on the side of her bed, pulled IV out, took her heart monitor off. And she's smiling. Cool.

We asked her if she had to go to the bathroom. She shook her head no, said she just went. Also, cool. So we got her alllll situated back in bed, tucked in, comfortable and Definitely put that bed alarm back on. Securely. For sure.

Despite  the fact that she was forgetful and I was pretty much talking to Dori, I felt like it was worth trying. I sat down with her and slowly explained to her the importance of calling for help before she goes to the bathroom and we will come help her get up, etc. We shook on it and made a deal.

Well, go flippin figure, next time I come to check in on her, where do I find her?

In the bathroom. 

Why didn't the *trusty* bed alarm go off?

Because she unvelcroed it from the bed, and was holding the entire thing in her hand, so that the alarm wouldn't go off. Sitting on the toilet.

As mad as I was that she figured all of that out, I had to hand it to her. Never in all my six years of being in the healthcare field have I *ever* seen someone dismantle a bed alarm, nonetheless a confused elderly 86 year old. I have seen many many people take the clip off of themselves and keep the bed alarm at the bed so it wouldn't go off,which is smart, yes, but easy to figure out. But to take the whole thing off the bed is really thinking outside of the box.  I was truly impressed. I didn't even know she knew where the bed alarm even came from. But I still tried to act semi-responsible and mad. Kind of like a parent that is shocked his kid did something totally kick-ass awesome even though its totally not a good idea.

Thats all today. That was definitely the highlight of the night. In case you're curious, she actually behaved after that incident and actually sang multiple songs for us from her bed, all night. Not sure if she sleeps, ever. At all.

With love,



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