When Life Throws You a Curveball, Make Lemonade.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm sorry, but I really can't understand you

As part of my job as an RN, I care for many patients who are on a ventilator.  Most of these patients are sedated (so that they're not fighting the ventilator), so are in a light sleep.  A few of them are awake enough to want to communicate, but the sedation, added to the fact that they have a tube going down their throat and coming out of their mouth, makes it very difficult to communicate effectively.  These patients try to mouth words, and when they can't get their message across (because I'm not a great ventilator-lip reader), they attempt to write down what they want to communicate.  Knowing that this is a challenge, I've tried everything I know to help them .  I've asked them to write one letter at a time.  I've tried steadying their hand.  I've even written the alphabet on a piece of paper and asked them to point to each letter of the words they want to spell.  None of these approaches has ever worked effectively.  They want to write down what they are attempting to tell me.  Good times.

More often than not, the message looks like this (actual message):


Unless you're telling me that you want to go to the ocean, I really don't get it.

Guess I need to take a class on scribble interpretation.

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