Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Worst Decisions Make the Best Stories

I had a patient yesterday who just happens to be a nurse. 

I'd actually "met" him a few times before, but those previous times he had a bolt coming out the top if his head, and he yelled really loud when I had to replace his IV, because he's terrified of needles.  Apparently, when one has suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm it is difficult to deal with the little phobias in life that normally you'd deep breathe through...

Anyhoo, he was looking much better and slowly getting back into weight lifting, which is what triggered the aneurysm rupture in the first place.  Either that, or the fact that he'd quit smoking just 4 days before it ruptured.  He's still on the fence about the real cause.

And he's not going to risk something like denying himself a cigarette when he nearly died trying to quit.

He has no tendency toward drama at all.

I was so relieved when the doctor openly addressed his tattoo.  Because I had definitely noticed it the other times when I was pulling the sheath that the doctor places in his right groin and threads a catheter through.  The catheter is then threaded up to his brain to inject contrast so they can get really clear pictures of the vascular system.  Anyway, you probably didn't want all of that info, but it's sort of necessary to help you understand that I had seen is groin a few times before.

And I couldn't help but notice the little "Hi" tattooed on it.  However, being that his coping skills were a bit diminished, I hadn't gathered the gumption to just come right out and ask what on earth he was thinking when he got the crazy thing.  Because, while most patients think it's truly my business to know everything I decide to ask, as a nurse he would probably get that I was just being nosy. 

But I really, really wanted to know.  Was it done on a dare?  Was it supposed to say something else, but he just wimped out?  Was he really a disgusting pervert?  I had been curious, yet disgusted by the thing since the first time I'd met him, under much scarier circumstances.

Never fear, Gentle Reader. My patience was finally being rewarded...

As the doctor began to prep the area for the study, he said "Hey, I see that you got a tattoo, just so I could know exactly where to go."  And I smiled inside because I now had permission to get the whole scoop.  But I was patient, Gentle Reader.  I didn't immediately hound him for details.  I knew my time was coming, if I just waited for the right moment.

Once the procedure was completed and I was checking around the catheter sight to make sure no bleeding had occurred under the skin, my patient commented on how embarrassing his tattoo is.  "You know, when I was 13, and hiding in my bedroom doing that tattoo, I never dreamed that 6 people would be looking at it."

"Well, let me tell you, way more than six people have seen it by now."  I'm sure he found my observation comforting.  "So you did it yourself?  When you were only 13?"  That explains the prison tat appearance."

He started laughing, and I had to scold him, because after all at that point I was holding pressure on his femoral artery, and laughter adds pressure and if my hand slipped I really didn't want to clean blood off the walls...

"Yeah, I used a needle and India ink.  I was just a stupid kid."

And then we changed the subject and talked about his and his wife's nursing experiences. 

And I thanked him for a great story that I will now have thanks to his poor judgment as a teenager.

It just really brings home the fact that the worst decisions make really great stories.


Dawn Castor said...

Owwwww. How can you do this to yourself? In such a place?

The Lumberjack's Wife said...

I am proud of you for being so patient!


Anonymous said...

I've missed you this summer! I gotta' stop traveling to places without Internet...

(I've tried six times to prove I'm not a robot and type in word verification. I am a real person, just one who apparently can't read very well.)