Often time when working the night shifts, I can’t tell if the confusion of patients arises from exhaustion or genuine misunderstanding. I typically work with senior citizens, so it could easily be a mixture of both. While I try to remain calm, collected, and explain everything as simply as possible, sometimes a patient’s confusion could be quite funny. To suddenly burst out laughing can be demeaning and offensive, of course. Yet, the night has a funny way of rewiring your brain, making emotions pass that logical barrier all too easily, enhancing every feeling that comes in those evening hours.
Once, I was handling the medications for an elderly woman. The process was going smoothly. I entered her room as expected, greeted her, asked her how she was doing, before elaborating on what my actions were going to be. I informed her that I was going to subscribe her to pepcid, a medicine for the stomach, and it was going to administered via IV. She said okay, but asked permission to inquire one single question before I began. Needless to say, I said “sure”, and all those nights of me practicing stifling a laugh could never have prepared me for the question she asked:
“Why coke and not pepsi?”
That’s when I knew for certain she needed hearing aids.Like