Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nighttime Serenade

Tonight, I stayed several hours past my shift end to sit with a confused elderly patient. "George" had a psych history and a broken hip. For various reasons, he had a triple lumen catheter and an order for TPN. Just before 2nd shift he pulled out his line and offered it to his nurse like a wedding ring, asking her to marry him.

I had worked with George before. He was unfailingly cheerful and absolutely adorable in his confusion. He was definitely one of my favorite patients. Because he was tugging on his foley and newly placed peripheral line, I volunteered to stay and guard his wandering hands.

He called me his little black Jewish kitty-cat and asked to pet my fur (I'm neither black nor Jewish) but happily acknowledged that I was a cat who didn't like to be petted and sang to me instead: "Kitty-Cat I Love You" to the tune of Bull Moose Jackson's big hit.

George didn't seem to have any short term memory; he constantly asked where he was, did his parents know he was there, why we had kidnapped him, when I was going to have my baby. (I'm not pregnant). *sigh*

Despite his misinterpretation of my physical homage to all things cheese (my little potbelly), we had a great time together telling stories and tearing pictures of cats out of the stack of magazines that someone had left him.

Outwardly, he and my mother were complete opposites. He was a tall black millwright and my mom was a tiny white schoolteacher. She died young and he had reached a blessed age. But their eyes were the same: brown and slightly bulging. He and my mom were both confused but so very loving and so happy to meet new faces.

It breaks my heart that he's transferring tomorrow to a university hospital for surgery and I won't be able to follow up on him.

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