Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Look

Tied up with a handful of big workup patients the other night - grabbing EKGs, orthostatics, blood/urine cultures and the like for a good two hours back to back - I managed to avoid entering room 9.  The report I received on the patient consisted mainly of "he's a handful," but the nurse seemed to have everything under control.  

While I caught up on charting later in the evening, I saw the nurse step out of the room with the Look - that unique, slightly flushed, wide-eyed expression of bemusement, exasperation, and a slight tinge of horror.  She turned to me and asked if I might try to get a repeat set of labs on the patient.  Knowing how important it can be to take a break from certain patients from time to time, I happily obliged, only to emerge several minutes later with the Look etched firmly on my face as well.

As I walked out of the room 9, I noticed a patient in the hallway who nodded at me and smiled.  "I'm an RN from Another Hospital," she explained,"and I recognize that Look.  Every person who has walked out of that room has it.  Hang in there."

Some things are universal.

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