“I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
Watch you weave then breathe your story lines
And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, So I can
Keep track of the visions in my eyes”
- Lyrics to “Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart
It’s 9:00 p.m. I just got home from somewhat grueling 13-hour shift on call on the psychiatry consultation liaison service at the hospital. My day started out a bit slow and then PAGER EXPLOSION. Consults started flowing in. Patients started doing poorly on the unit, requiring STAT meds. I didn’t get a chance to eat. I barely got a chance to sit down. It was a bit horrible. And yet massively wonderful. I actually got to do some good things for some very sick, and not so sick patients. Some highlights:
1) A delusional woman who wouldn’t let the phlebotomist draw her blood. I literally babysat her and discussed her eye color and her delusions at length while the phlebotomist sucked her blood. She thanked me. (And wrote down my name for her log.)
2) A very disorganized schizophrenic patient who followed me around all day saying “doctor doctor tractor tractor…you’re a doctor tractor.”
3) A consult on a patient in the emergency room who told me that the remote control in his brain was causing machinery throughout the world to go haywire. (Turns out he needed luvins AND meds.)
4) A demented elderly man who told me his whole life story (but thought it was 1952, and that I was his dead wife).
5) A nurse in the emergency room who requested to rub my head (because she insisted it was velvet). I told her she would have good luck for 7 years.
6) An alcoholic man who I made smile by telling him that I would grind up the goat meat his wife brought him so that he could eat it without his lost dentures.
7) The patient’s family member, who, when I asked, “do you have any questions?” said, “yes, where did you get those amazing sunglasses?”
8 ) Convincing a very psychotic man to take the meds I offered because, no, I could not stop the video cameras from taping his life, but I could at least help him worry about it less. And who then accepted my hand and promptly stopped barricading his body against his door.
9) The nurse who told me that she always looks forward to working with me because I do everything “with a smile.”
10) The 300 pound 6 foot 3 inch patient who initially screamed and threatened me. And then after a few minutes asked for a hug.
I’m convinced that simply no job can be more fulfilling. Even the bad. The talking on the phone with the insurance company forever to get my patient their meds for their opiate addiction. The running around the hospital trying to find a form that should have just been there in the first place. Calling millions of phone numbers to get one piece of information to help my desperate patient. I would give up. If it weren’t for the 1-10 items above.
I gave so many “luvins” today. And every one of them were worth it.
And then I walked home in the frigid air, at night, with my massive sunglasses and hoody obscuring my face, incredibly fatigued, yet incredibly fulfilled.
I wear my sunglasses at night. And I keep track of the visions in my eyes.
Photos: All taken this week on my walks to hospitals.