Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's one or twenty tattoos, he's still my son.

I keep replaying two work moments over and over in my head.

1. I was caring for an elderly woman who had a wound that needed daily dressing changes.  The dressing changes were a little complex and she told me that her daughter was doing them.  "That's nice," I thought.  Later, I walked in and there was a younger woman in there wearing a tube top and daisy dukes.  Her hair was ratted up about 6 inches and she had multiple facial piercings.  I immediately thought that if this was her daughter, there was no way she was stable (or capable) enough to do these dressing changes and that I was going to have to set up home health to come and do it.  In talking with them, I came to see that she was actually very involved in her mother's care and performed the dressing change with a practiced and caring hand.

2.  I got report that I was going to get a new patient from the OR.  He was a 20 year old male with his jaw wired shut after getting it broken in a fight.  He came up by himself and he was what I imagine your typical gangster from South Tucson would look like- old English tattoos, tattoos of naked women, tattoos of guns, miscellaneous scars, etc.  He was polite to me and said thank you when I showed him how to suction his mouth and how to order smoothies from the cafeteria.  Pretty soon his visitors started showing up.  For the next few hours, there was a steady stream of hermanos, tias, sobrinitos, primos, y dos abuelas. The unit clerk asked me if he was really sick and that's why everyone was coming to see him, and I said no, he'd be going home tomorrow.

Prior to getting this job, I was inclined to think that having strong family ties was a good way to make sure that my kids didn't end up wearing tube tops and getting facial piercings, or getting tattoos of naked women on their back (oh I forgot he also had multiple tattoos of kisses on his face). I guess not.  And if they do, it doesn't mean that I should love them any less.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


"I'll give you the pills because the elixir is really disgusting." Nora has had a boil on the back of her leg for a while. She didn't mind it so much, so I was just kind of waiting for it to go away. She started complaining that it hurt, and Tyler thought it was getting bigger, so we went in today. After popping it like a huge, disgusting zit, the doctor recommended some antibiotics as, he felt, it was probably a staph infection. Being that I am a healthcare worker, he thought maybe it was MRSA. He recommended clindamycin. He was confident that I could just open the pills and mix them in with some pudding or something. I filled the prescription, brought them home, opened it up and mixed it into some applesauce. "Come here, Nora..." Bite. [unintelligible screaming] First, anger. "Get back over here and eat these two bites!" Then, logic. "honey, if you don't eat this, you might get more sores." Then, bribery. "I'll give you a chocolate chip for every bite you take." Last, example. "Look, I'll take a bite to show you it's not so [unintelligible screaming]" Oh. My. Stars. It was like chewing 5 aspirin at once. Even after I've had dinner, I can still taste it.
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