An unfortunate set of circumstances had landed this sweet lady in the hospital. She had been through the ringer. You could tell she was nearing the end of her rope, and her husband...he was at the end of his. She'd had a lousy nurse (yep, they exist) the night before and her day nurse had promised she would have a better night. Enter: me.
I babied her. I increased her pain medication so she wouldn't be in so much pain. I brought her special hot cocoa made with milk. I made sure her favorite TV show was on. A student working with me took extra time to spend with her. She had great service. I could tell she was much more happy with her care with me than anyone prior. I had worked my tooshie off to earn that and I wanted her to have a better experience than before. She deserved it.
She hadn't been sleeping much, even after I gave her a sleep aid. Around 4am she started getting kooky. I went in to chat with her and she said, "This call bell has legs." Oh boy. Here we go. She's going to start getting confused on me. She reoriented easily, but felt that something was wrong. She made a few calls, quite early morning, to which I spoke to her family members trying to reassure them I was taking good care of her. I turned off her pain medication and checked her blood sugar, thinking the crankiness was from hypoglycemia. Nope.
She refused most care, except for me. The lab tech was frustrated without being able to draw her blood for the am labs. Instead I drew them off her IV site avoiding another poke for her, which isn't the easiest thing. As I sat there drawing her blood, she started to cry. I tried to reassure her and that all would be okay. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes, "I thought you were my friend."
AND MY HEART BROKE. I started to tear up with her. I AM your friend. I've been trying to do everything I can tonight to help you, comfort you, be with you. Yet, when the brain starts playing tricks on you, anything can happen. I did everything I could to bring her back to the situation, to me, to her surgery. Anything. I got a little bit back, but not all the way. She needed time to process all the pain meds she had received in OR and by me. I second-guessed my turning up her pain medication. In the end, I know I was treating her pain to the best of my ability, she was just experiencing certain side effects that are quite common.
I did all that I could, but still left that morning feeling as if I let her down. I WAS her friend. A fight between reality and narcotics, and reality usually loses.