I've Landed!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ahh...so just what IS your goal ? ! ?

     I recall the first time I heard those words.  I was standing at the bedside of a profoundly old patient as her doctor was speaking to her, tightly clutched Medical Record in hand.  "Ahh...so just what is your goal?"
     The old woman laying in bed looked up at us helplessly and seemed tongue-tied.
     I had no sympathy for her.  I was 21 and frankly I couldn't believe she was still "hanging on"!  I was thinking what a blessing death would be for her and why didn't she just let go and go."

     I was so stupid.  Top of my nursing class, I was considered very smart.  I felt very smart.

     Her doctor continued, "Do you want me to do a $10,000.oo work-up on you so I can tell you what is causing your rash?  Or do you just want some ointment?  Calamine lotion might help you and you can get that over-the-counter."
     No answer.  Just helpless looks aimed at the doctor.
     "Well, what is it you are trying to achieve in life now?  Going on a cruise, ....or.....just what is your goal?  I have given you all the pain pills I can give you, and surgery in not an option in your physical condition."
     The old woman whimpered but there was no dialogue, no solution.  The doctor and I walked away without a backward glance, let alone a pat on her hand.
     I remember the first time those words were said to me, just recently!
"Ahh....so...just what is your goal, medically speaking?"
     I felt like I feel every time they shove that "Advanced Stuff Forms" in my face!    Defeated.
     I didn't whimper until I got home.
     Having now recovered from my "interface" with the Medical Community Guru's, I have some advice for other old patients.  First of all, NEVER EVER have these "discussions on your goals" when you're wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a hospital manger  on your back without your bra and panties on.
     Put on your bra!
     Put on your panties!
     Put on your matching earrings!   (I cannot believe the power of matching earrings!)
     Grab hold of the manger side rails.
     Sit bolt upright in bed and declare, "My goal is to live another day!!"
     That will shut them up.  And make them nervous about their legal risk should they err by pretending they had no idea you wanted to live another day!