You know how kids say whatever's in their heads? I see so many Facebook posts from friends, reporting the hilarious thing that their kids said that day. They don't have a filter, and it creates funny situations.
I see the same thing with my patients. The elderly often are like children. I think it’s a combination of forgetfulness and just not caring about what people think anymore.
Here’s a few things I’ve heard over the years from my patients, because sometimes, it’s nothing but gold.
1. I told one sweet lady, after checking her vital signs, “No change! Everything’s good!” She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Did someone take my pennies?” I wasn’t sure what to say, and I asked what she meant. With a gleam in her eye, she grins. “No change. Someone stole my pennies.”
2. Another sweet lady, who’d been struggling through the night told me, right before I left the shift, “I don’t think I would have made the night without you.” Words like that are a lifeline for a nurse, especially when things get difficult.
3. After listening to a patient complain about her care, she grabbed my hand, and asked, “You know why I tell you these things, right? Because you’re the only one who cares.” Sometimes it’s hard to show it, especially when I get busy, but I do try to stop to listen. Sometimes, that’s all they need.
4. I took a pill into a woman who was half asleep one night. As I was leaving, she groggily asked me, “Do you know what I would do if I were young again?” I was curious. She’d lived much longer than me, and I was expecting some impart of wisdom. When I came closer, she announced, “I’d buy one of those newfangled pressure cookers.”
And of course, there’s plenty of comments about me, personally.
1. “Are you here all night? And you’re Chinese? Oh, Japanese, interesting. Well, we’ll sure enjoy each other tonight.”
2. “There’s my long haired beauty”
3. “There’s my little Indian girl.” – Before anyone gets upset, he had Alzheimer’s, and he really, was a sweet man. It was his nickname for me, because he couldn’t remember my name.
4. “Get out of here… Yoko!” To be fair, we were both struggling with her admission, mostly because the hospital had changed her medications so drastically she didn’t want to take any of the pills I was supposed to give her.
If any of you are nurses out there, I’d love to hear some of the things that your own patients have told you. As you learn quickly in the field, it’s better to laugh than it is to cry.