Monday, October 11, 2010
Welcome to the Phlegm Factory
I'm having an absolutely miserable time with allergies, despite taking multiple OTC medications. I'm wondering if I should give in and go to see an allergist, although they've never been terribly helpful to me before. Aaaargh! The weather's changing, so I hope that will help. This not-being-able-to-breathe thing is really annoying.
This weekend's hospital shift was unusually stressful, with two especially poignant psych cases. One was very grateful for my company; the other warmed up after initial hostility, but everything I tried to do to help only made the patient feel worse, which landed us back in hostility again. I'm well aware that this was a function of the patient's illness, not my efforts, but it's heartbreaking to see someone whose misery and terror are so well defended and deeply entrenched that any attempt to alleviate them just intensifies them instead. Most painful of all, the patient was in the ER for non-psych issues, and was being released; we had no way to address or treat the psych symptoms, although everyone but the patient was aware of them.
Awful. The situation was as literal a depiction of hell as I've ever seen, a darkness no light could penetrate, because all our puny flashlight beams were deflected by neurochemical forcefields. I'm not sure even God could get through that barrier, although I'll keep praying for a miracle.
All I managed to do, after much effort, was to give the patient a soda. "I can only drink X or Y," the patient told me fretfully, and neither X nor Y were available in our small fridge with its tiny cans of soda-for-patients. So I grabbed a few bucks from my purse and bought a bottle of the Right Soda from the cafeteria. I've never done that before, and of course the patient expressed no gratitude -- I didn't expect any -- but the gesture left me feeling a tiny bit less shredded. Maybe I was being manipulated (although the patient didn't know about my $1.35 expenditure), but so what? If the only thing you can do is give someone a soda, that's what you do, and hope that it produces even a molecule of pleasure in the moment.
In other cheery news, today's the six-month anniversary of my mother's death.
On the bright side, we went to a lovely dinner party this weekend.
Okay, gotta blow my nose again and get some more grading done. Happy Monday, everyone.