“Oh that’s just God, he thinks he’s a Doctor…. or something like that, I always get the punch line wrong.”
I smiled politely and did my best to portray some genuine amusement. Being my last day on the psych unit I was admittedly a little touched at my patients attempt to amuse me with an old hospital joke. This type of acting by staff when dealing with a patient considered as dangerous as this one was quite common. There seems to be a direct correlation between the preservation of a patient’s pride, and the ability to go home unharmed for the day. The balancing act of course is being able to confront such a patient in a therapeutic way, while keeping that pride, and your face, intact.
A hospital is the apex of human existence, most of us enter this world via hospital, and will likely leave it in one as well. Birth and death it seems are usually only a short elevator ride away from each other. (Although I have seen both take place actually ON an elevator) Everything from the sounds, to the smells, are unique to the hospital environment. Some like to play a cute little lullaby jingle over the intercom system whenever a baby is born, while not a minute later, the sharp contrast of a brash voice with unmistakable urgency can be heard announcing the location of a code blue. People in the various waiting rooms look up from pretending to read their 7yr old doctors office magazine, as if they are going to see a blood covered gurney go racing by like on television…. If only….
-Kelsey David Burnham