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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lost and found

It was a relatively quiet night, and the lights in the bays of the Observation Ward were switched off. The patients were resting in their beds - some fast asleep, some snoring, some shuffling discontentedly under the covers (those hospital beds can be so uncomfortable).

I was sitting at the nursing station looking up test results on the computer during my break. The nurses, I noticed, were looking tense this evening and were growling to themselves, pacing the floor like bears in a cage. One of the nurses was repeatedly opening and closing the toilet door. Another one was walking round in circles within one of the bays.

Just as I was putting my hands above my head and backing away slowly towards the door, Chief Staff Nurse walked in behind me, muttering to himself something about leaving for one minute and everything falling apart.

"What's up, Chief Staff Nurse?", I said, trying to look nonchalant.

"We've lost a patient."

"Oh," I put on my most sympathetic doctor-face, "That's very sad. Are you alright?"

He glared at me. "No, you patronising twit. We've lost a patient. She's run off. Can't find her anywhere. Got the police looking for her now."


Chief Staff Nurse rubbed his furrowed brow with meaty fists. "Ugh, it's cold outside, she's quite elderly and quite confused, she hasn't taken her clothes with her, just hospital pyjamas."

I clasped at my head in horror as visions of streaking grannies flood my mind, all cackling merrily whilst mooning passing cars on the motorway.

Chief Staff Nurse glared at me again. "No, you idiot. She might get hypothermia and die!"

I looked at him in shock. Did I say anything out loud?

So...I agreed to help out. We turned on the lights in the Observation Ward in a last, desperate bid to find elderly Mrs Moon.

The patients yawned at me loudly and angrily, whilst I looked round bay 3. Mrs Moon's empty bed was in front of me, lovingly decorated with plastic flowers and pictures of grandchildren. In the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of something fluffy and polka-dotted. There it was, just peeking out at me from under the next bed - Mrs Moon's fluffy polka-dotted bedroom slippers, with Mrs Moon still attached.

"Hello Mrs Moon," said I, crouching down to look under the bed, "Whatever are you doing under there?"

I am met by a pair of tear-filled hazel eyes. A tremulous voice replied, "I'm hiding. The nurses, the nurses are trying to kill me. I tried to run away, but I'm can't walk very far..."

As it turns out, poor Mrs Moon was in the same bay as Mrs Chronically-Painful-Hip and Mrs Mildly-Dehydrated. Mrs Chronically-Painful-Hip had woken up and forgotten all about her painful hip and tried to get to the toilet and collapsed, screaming. At the same time, Mrs Mildly-Dehydrated woke up from a terrible nightmare, screaming.

The nurses had rushed round to help them out, whilst Mrs Moon, awoken by the commotion, observed the nurses surrounding the others who were obviously screaming in anguish. Horrified, Mrs Moon tried to make a quick (or rather, not so quick) getaway.

Chief Staff Nurse arrived and patted me on the back. And I watched as the nurses crowded round the bed, trying to coax Mrs Moon out with sweets and toys. The whites of her eyes showed, and she shook and shook her head, trembling all over in fear.

I walked back to the main department, not sure whether to laugh or cry.


Blogger Lysithea said...

You write really well and I really enjoyed reading your blog. :)

11:59 pm  
Blogger IML said...

You caught me there.

8:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the midst of all those sickness and illness, there awaits some kind of amusement as well.. Keep writing ! Really do enjoy your entries. :)

9:18 am  
Blogger tscd said...

lysithea, anonymous: Thanks!

life story: :) Yeah, I could hardly believe it myself.

5:21 am  
Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

It's not uncommon for patients to become disoriented and try to wander away. We have found a few patients in our parking lot in the past. Slippery people that they are!!

12:38 am  

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