Dr. B’s father is one of the only Americans on Dr. Lansing’s team. His father was admitted to CCU5. None of the other nurses wanted to take care of him because of their feelings about Dr. B. They had good cause. There was the fear of a pick-pick-pick situation and being watched and ordered around. I got stuck with him because, Mel, Jane, and Donna had been on over the weekend and had all their patients staked out.
The Monday after my weekend off I always plan on getting screwed and always do. It is the same with all the nurses, including myself, so it is just expected. If other nurses have to work the weekend you are off, then you get the patient no one else wants…this can be for various reasons, not related to degree of care of difficulty in administering care. It is usually due to personality reasons. No one wants to work with an asshole, whether it is in a grocery store or a hospital. “Don’t piss off the nurses” is probably a good adage. Not that you won’t get good care, or someone will do you in, but you will be branded as a pain in the ass and will get perfunctory attention.
Anyway, I got Dr. B’s father, who had everything known to medicine attached to him. Still, no diagnosis, even though he had had every test you could shake a stick at. But the tests had not come back. Right now we are treating symptoms. His is on the respirator, has a Swan Ganz, an A-line, a PICC line, a foley, N/G tube and every 15 minute vital signs.
He may have ARDS, Legionaries Disease, Cancer, the list goes on. He is one sick guy and not one any of us would put odds on.
Surprisingly enough, Dr. B. was quite human, not like him at all. He actually acted like a son concerned about his father rather than a god almighty surgeon on Lansing’s team. A situation I have seen whilst taking care of other VIP’s and noted the same reaction. John Y. Brown was in our unit and seemed less like a governor than laid up in a bed. When Dr. Stephenson’s mother died and Dr. Howard’s, uncle die, I noted the same. Also, when Muhammad Ali’s father was in the unit, I remember noting how he didn’t seem nearly as tall as he did on T.V. One of his questions still makes me laugh. It has to do with whether too much sex could have caused the downfall. Again, common things happen to the uncommon people. Sickness and death are great equalizers.
I had a strange dream last night, with only a slight variation to what I recognize as a recurring dream. I am in a house and it is strange to me. The house last night was quite huge and very spacious, but it lacked warmth and closeness. It was so big with modern architecture and I ran through it trying to feel joy and exhilaration. But in truth, I just couldn’t imagine why I had bought this house. I was berating myself for choosing it too quickly. This wasn’t my type of house; the rooms were too big, too many, and the big staircase wound around so that I couldn’t see what was up there. But I charged up the staircase boldly so the people downstairs could see I was fearless. But I didn’t like the house, and felt I would be so consumed I wouldn’t be able to find my way out.
Later, I had an unbelievable nightmare that involved an evil creature that did horrible things to people. When I woke up and shook off the nightmare, I thought, “God, that was as bad as these modern horror movies teenagers watch.”
I can’t account for these sleep disturbances at this time because I am quite accustomed to stress and self-control. It is an ingrained part of my personality. I never show nervousness to any degree, and Lord, any insinuation that I would panic on or off the job is not possible for me. I’ve always said you can’t panic and think at the same time. I absolutely hate panicky types. I would never be one even if I knew my life was in danger. Control. That’s me. All the time. Always.
I am so tired of hearing about Wm. Schroeder, reading all the lies about him, being around, him, having to talk and answer questions about him. It would be better if I felt any attachment to him. But I don’t; I just don’t have any closeness to him. You have it with most patients but others you just don’t. For me, some patients fall into a gray area, but on occasion you dislike one to the point of avoidance and there is no way to avoid the feelings.
Schroeder is wallowing the publicity, and the hype. Always, there are reporters and doctors in and out of our unit, looking at him or inquiring about him. Gifts continue to flow in. A room is packed with stuff people have sent him. Hundreds of stuffed animals are in there, which I think we need to distribute to pediatrics.
Finally the nurses have begun talking about how we really feel about Bill Schroeder. Jamie started with making small comments the other night and ended up calling him a rude demanding, obnoxious, vulgar, son-of-a-bitch. It was like opening floodgates. The dam sprang.
Up to now, ole Bill has had a sacred name. Now, we can talk about realities. He’s a guy who probably never was very likable, in the first place. This must be this last surge of power that he will get a chance at, and he exerts that power to no end. He even tried it with President Reagan.
I’m not too inclined to call someone’s statements obscene, but this guy’s statements are obscene. He talked about getting a pecker implant next so he can get an erection to show all the nurses. He asked Jamie to get up on that trapeze thing he uses to lift himself, and to spread her legs so he can see what she’s got.
He never says please or thank you, or even observes the common courtesies one might expect on one’s deathbed. He’ll cough up a big hawker and purse his lips for the nurse to take the sputum in a Kleenex, even thought he is perfectly capable of doing so himself. If the nurse isn’t fast enough for him he spits it on his chest. It’s like, “Wipe my ass and do it quick, girlie, I’m a star.”
He watches every nightly broadcast by the major news and local channels and gloats that he is such a celebrity. He has had so much publicity that even if he did live (which he won’t) he’d be hell to live with. I sure don’t envy his wife. Poor Margaret. She is in a no-win situation.
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