The ICU. At night. Be scared. Be very scared... of Angry Amy. She reared her face and made a guest appearance last night when we had this lady yell the house down. Post-craniotomy for removal of a brain mets, she was brought into HDU and wouldn't shut her shrill little mouth all night. She obviously subscribed to the "The louder I yell, the more attention they'll pay me" school of thought. To make matters worse, she was Cantonese-speaking and her poor daughter had to interpret for her. The lady obviously could understand and speak some English, for by the end of the night, she was forming simple, blunt sentences such as "You no care" and "I want to leave." The daughter had enough before we hit this stage and left for home at around 4am in the morning.
Now, I don't have a lot of patience but I make up for it with tolerance. This lady had used up any and all -ence I had about two hours into the shift. She claimed she was in pain but refused analgesia. Ok.. that's not so uncommon amongst the patient population. Matyrs. Or plain stubborn idiots. That was just the tip of the iceberg. She then loudly claimed that ICU wasn't providing her adequate care along the lines of "24-hour care my foot. Someone comes to check on me every hour and looks at the computer. Otherwise, they only come when I yell out." So I spend the next 40 minutes going through explaining that ICU has gone electronic and all notes are in the computer now, to pointing out that she has a dedicated nurse looking after her and all sorts of things. She managed to say in English "I don't accept that" to all my explanations like a freeeeeeaking petulant child. She tried the "I want to speak to the boss of ICU" angle, at 3am in the morning. Uh, no. She finally agreed to have some fentanyl after demanding that she'll be fine with paracetamol. Uh lady, it's not your call. She still wasn't happy and resorted to "Oh, it's all my fault then, I'm wrong and you're right." and kept repeating that for the rest of the hour. *gnash teeth silently* Every. single. button. pushed. She kicked up such a fuss, claiming we didn't care for her, let her die, blahblahblah, that she set off the confused hypoxic guy opposite her and caused her neighbor to develop stridor.
So I cracked the shits. Apologized to her daughter and asked if she could please translate what I was about to say. And let the feral woman have it. I was this close to rhetorically asking her if she was the doctor here, and would like to dictate her own management after having her skull just cut open. Never have I said that to the patient, and seldom does the thought cross my mind. Seems really arrogant and I wouldn't have been able to get the words out completely before sheepishly apologizing halfway through.. but tonight. MAN. that close to saying it to her. crazy woman. Thanks a lot for reinforcing the maybe wayward views I have about Chinese culture and habits.. where the more you fuss, the more it means you care.. or how nothing else but an injection (for whatever ailment befalls you that day, even a sniffly nose) is the only way to "cure" you. Olanzapine gun, you were my best friend tonight =)