(An update/continuation of “On Superstition”)
Almost as soon as I finish typing the previous reflection, and before I can decide what to do with it – send it as an email, as originally intended, or post it – my pager goes off. At 3:35pm, a page from my resident assigns me a patient down in the ED with psychosis and a history of violence toward hospital staff. The patient denies everything I ask her and kicks me out of the room several times before I finally get her to let me stay and talk so I can at least get a mental status exam. After I’ve been in the room for over an hour with her, she looks me square in the eye and says levelly, “I don’t like you.” My pager goes off. I have a suicidal patient to see a few rooms down.
An hour and change later, that patient has been brought up to the floor – just before I was able to finish my exam, of course – but my resident is too busy seeing two other patients who’ve hit the floor while I was down in the ED. One of them is complaining about our facilities to anyone and everyone; the other is in the midst of opiate withdrawal.
While I busy myself writing up my patients and wait to present to the resident, my first lady makes it to the ward and starts hanging around the nurses’ station, glaring at me over the wall. I try to smile without any effect and quickly settle for avoiding eye contact. Within minutes, she’s progressed from glaring to declaring that I am turning red, shouting loudly that I am Satan, and trying to point out the “tail coming from [my] a**.” “Yes, you,” she yells when I glance up. “You are Satan!”
I escape as soon thereafter as I can with the instructions to email my write-ups to my resident and the knowledge that I’m being saved by a holiday weekend, meaning I don’t have to come in for the next two days.
I’m hoping I’m no longer Satan by then. Otherwise, I’m going to have an awkward daily progress interview Tuesday morning.
And my superstitions?
I’ll let you decide.