My day started out pretty standard, checked in with my patients, did my assessments, did my med pass and assisted my patients with their AM care. One particular patient asked
me to stay behind because he wanted to talk to someone. We ended up chatting for almost an hour and he shared with me the pain (both physical and emotional) that he was in and what he was feeling vulnerable about. It was a lot to unpack and he was emotional. He begged to speak to someone, anyone, who could help him. I told him I would put him in touch with a social worker and would encourage his MRP to order a psych consult. He had my word, I had his back. He was calm, cracked a few jokes, and finally felt safe. Until his wife came back at about 3pm while the social worker was at his bedside, declared he didn't need any of this nonsense, he didn't know what he was talking about and just needed to come home. She was the only one who could look after him properly and we were just making things worse. I looked at "John" trying to convey with a look that "Don't worry, we've got this. You're safe". The MRP came and did his rounds while I was on my dinner break and when I came back, the wife triumphantly told me she had him cancel all that nonsense with Social Work and the Psychiatrist and "John" would be discharged the next morning. I asked her how "John", the actual patient felt about this and she said he wasn't present for the conversation and was in the bathroom for the duration. I saw red, but politely excused myself. I spoke with the MRP before he left the floor and asked him if he felt it was right to discuss these things without the patient present, and he responded that the patient's "greatest advocate" was there; the wife, and that he felt good about his decision, and where to go if I didn't agree. When the wife left in the evening at the end of my shift, I sat with "John" for a while. He cried and told me that he felt like he was in a prison of his own body since his Parkinson's had progressed, and felt infantilized and emasculated. I told him I was sorry that I couldn't make happen what I said I would. We sat quiet for a while. He told me I was the first person who bothered to listen to him. I thanked him for the privilege of him sharing his vulnerability with me. I excused myself, wished him strength and courage and made it to the staff restroom where I cried so hard I couldn't see. I splashed water on my face and fixed up my makeup the best I could and walked down the hall towards the ward exit, took the stairs down the 6 flights out onto the street, walked to my car, and wept. And then the next day I got up and started all over again.
Chelsea, LPN in BC, Canada