Thursday, December 16, 2010


We were discussing service and maybe how to incorporate a "difficult" patient into this. I said I thought we wanted to be careful with the word "difficult." Well... someone who chats a lot was given as an example. So I continued to think. This will end up as me telling my story to the few people who read my blog.

Difficult... interesting... from whose perspective. If I am difficult have you considered why - have you flipped the coin? I'm as much to blame for this - I may consider someone difficult.

Anyway, my story as the difficult patient...

This woman just had shoulder surgery. She has MS. We can't move her because her legs are out of control. She's difficult. I guess we can put a moveable toilet by her bed. Maybe then she won't be as difficult to move.

I'm in the hospital after shoulder surgery. Hasn't anyone been trained in how to move someone who doesn't have good use of their legs? Isn't there a procedure for moving people like me? Something is wrong, yes, but I've been knocked out and I don't get it.

Physical therapists arrive. Difficult patient can't stand. Her legs just shake. She has MS - the best place for her is a nursing home. She won't do that. Come on - she has MS - doesn't she "get it?"

Oh, I'm coming out of this now. I don't think I've received any of my normal medicines and so my legs are shaking. Where is a doctor? These people who don't know me and gave me 2 minutes want me in a nursing home due to MS. No way - something else is happening.

(that night) This woman wants medicine but it's not what her prescription says so she can't have it. Won't she just go to sleep? Why won't she just use a bedpan? She is difficult.

Oh, I'm getting it. I haven't been standing so nothing is working and I don't think I've been getting my meds. Why won't they give them to me? My legs are spasming. I can't sleep without my meds.

(next day - difficult patient is transferred) OK, we have a new lady here and she is difficult. She doesn't want to be here. She wants medicine and we can't give it - it's not what her prescription says. It's 1am - can't she go to sleep?

This is going to be a long night. I haven't had meds. They gave me 2 out of 10. The doctor said they could give me 2 more. Woo hoo - we are now at 4 out of 10. Look at my leg - if it were long enough, it would jump to the ceiling. I am in hell, clearly. There is no escape.

(2 days later) What?!! The difficult patient escaped, came back, and no one noticed! She must be telling a lie - she really thought she could leave? Now she wants to go home? We're going to have a meeting to discuss her!

OK, I've had it - I'm going home. I can do what I need to do. I know this because I left and found out I'm able to do things. I didn't know I shouldn't leave. I am out of here - then no one can tell me which rules I'm unknowingly breaking and I can take my meds as I know how to take them, and I can work things out.

The end.

Clearly the difficult patient wrote this. There are other "sides." But has anyone asked what she thinks? No, not until the end. Who learned what from this?

Define difficult.

1 comment:

DebbieLynne said...

I can relate! Having been born with Cerebral Palsy, I'm also a "difficult" patient. Brilliant blog post!