Monday, April 25, 2005

Mental Health Day

Today is a planned mental health day. With prompting from my ever-loving partner, I requested this day off a week ago, planning to rest and recreate as a novel way to start the work week. It is a welcome balm.

This morning I try not to think about my patients but I will take a few moments to exorcise a few from my mind.

First, there's Q, a white middle-aged man with AIDS and a penchant for heroin, alcohol, and cocaine. Just last week, he left the hospital AMA (against medical advice) after a bout of pancreatitis, not to mention a large stone which is still lodged in his ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder). He had left a straw and white powder in the bathroom the day before, leading us to suspect illicit cocaine abuse. I wonder where he is now, and will wait for him to find me when he needs to be rescued.

Next there's my 350+ lbs Latina woman with severe asthma. I did my best to have her transferred from the hospital to a rehab facility, something I hope and pray happened over the weekend.

I also think about my wonderful 70-year-old woman with AIDS, diabetes, COPD, asthma, and schizophrenia. I worry for her health which is somewhat compromised at the moment. You ask me how she could NOT be compromised? I answer that, over all, she is amazingly healthy, believe it or not. However, I think she may be entering a final phase, but how many years she has left is up to the goddess.

Finally, there's my sweet gentle giant of a patient with AIDS and a new-onset dementia that we cnanot understand, not to mention new-onset diabetes which just will not come under control. The visiting nurse who sees him calls me daily with updates and we pray for things to resolve themselves. Time will tell, but I sense his days may be numbered. Then again, mine are numbered too, but I hope to have a bunch more numbers to go.......

Now that I've cleared my nurse's brain of a few worries, I can move on to the rest of my day. Unfortunately, at least 2 hours of that day will involve study and note-taking for tomorrow night's lecture on the urinary and reproductive systems. I just can't seem to escape nursing, even on a day off from it.

The sun is out, the dogs wait (somewhat) patiently for a walk, and my stomach rumbles. Thanks for reading, for tolerating my self-indulgence, and may your day be filled with grace.
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