Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quality of Life

We have a patient on the floor, a social admit. Adorable. She’s completely independent, mobility-wise, and wanders the floor constantly, asking that her ever-present Styrofoam cup of prune juice to be reheated. She flirts with all the men, telling them they’re the spitting image of Clark Gable, sugar lips and all.

From the desk, I see her make her revolution around the unit. She pauses next to the room with the moaning confused man with a hip fracture. I see her raise her hand to the doorframe. She makes no move to go in or even peek. But her hand trembles and she’s obviously affected.

She continues on to the end of the hall, looks out the window at the pitiful view, then returns to the desk and asks me to heat up her prune juice. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t actually drink the stuff but promise her a new fresh cup and she beams.

She makes several rounds, pausing outside noisy rooms and staring out the windows at the end of the corridor. This time of year, the trees are naked and the sky is grumpy. She’s riveted though. She always comes back to the desk and chats with me. It’s the same short conversation throughout the night. She doesn’t feel like doing the dishes. Can they wait until the morning? She’s tired and wants to go to bed.

Despite her fatigue, she makes another rotation. Whenever one of our staff passes in her in the hall, they call out her name with a bright hello. She beams and tells them that they’re the spitting image of someone famous. I look like Ann Margaret. Preeti looks like Pocohantas and Aimee’s Linda Blair.

We talk about patients and quality of their life. This lovely special little old lady has been able to affect the quality of life of everyone on this unit. Talk about giving back. We’re blessed to be a way station on her journey.

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