April 08, 2011

ICU Psychosis

When patients have been on our unit for a long period of time they can develop what we call "ICU psychosis." It is really just the hospital version of cabin fever. However, when you add that psychosis to an already pre-existing, diagnosis related confusion, it makes for one interesting night.

Her name was "Josephine." She was known on our unit for being a bit looney. Just when you thought you were on your last thread of patience, she would say something or do something and you couldn't help but laugh. I had her for two nights of her stay and that is really all I think I could handle... When she wasn't stuffing her dinner into her sock, yes, her sock, (a chicken, mashed potatoes and string bean dinner) "for later," she was stuffing obscene amounts of toilet paper into her gown "for later."

It was a little bit like the movie '50 First Dates,' every 2 minutes or so she would ask the same question again with no recollection of what the answer was the last 35 times.

J: "where am I?"

Me: "In the ICU"

J: "What?! are you playin? you ARE playin"

Me: "I am not playin"

....120 seconds later... "Where am I?"...

J: "(watching tv..) Oh my GOD!"

Me: "Whats wrong Josephine?"

J: "Donald Trump is the President?! How long have I been in here?!"

Me: "No he is not, he just says he might run for president"

J: "He's a damn fool."

Me: "I agree, do you know who the president is Josephine?"

J: "Sure, Regan!"

Me: "Try again, I'll give you a hint..he is our first black president..."

J: "Oh! Tiger Woods.."

J: "I have to go to the bathroom."

Me "Number 1 or number 2?"

J: "number 1"

Me: "You have a catheter in your bladder so you dont have to worry about number 1"

J: "I mean I have to go number 2."

Me: "Ok, I'll put you on the bed pan." ...pt on bed pan..

call bell goes off..

J: "I have to go the bathroom"

Me: " Jospehine you are on the bedpan and you have a foley so, please, go ahead."

J: "hahahah (in a deep ursula from the little mermaid type laugh.).okayy babyy"

..120 seconds later, repeat. 120 second after that the unit phone rings..

"I have to go to the bathroom"....

And then there was "Terri." She was convinced that she was in the middle of a game and we, the nurses, were actually people from her office playing parts. I was Jackie.

T: "Jackie! Jackie! put this rail down so I can get up.."

Me: "Sorry I can't. You have to many things attached to you and we dont want you to fall."

T: "Thats what I'm gonna say next time you ask me for a policy number! 'sorry I can't' and dont ask me to type for anymore either, bitch!"

T: "Jackie I dont, want to play this game anymore."

Me: "Terri, this isnt a game you are in the hospital."

T: "Ya and my blood pressure just went up to 3337 and I'm still here to tell you about it..I'm alive because it's a game. See! Thre goes Audrey's daughter into my laundry room! explain that.."

Then I have a little fun with it because at the end of the day you have to have fun or you will go insane..

Me: "Terri, who is winning? I think I'm winning.."

T: "I'm not sure. What level are you on?"

Me: "5, I think"

T: "Oh wow thats really good Jackie, you are from accounting so I'd expect that from you. Now get in here you were supposed to be here hours ago to give me my back massage.."

All I can say is there better be a very special place in heaven for me and my coworkers :)

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