Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Typical Dilemma

It had been a while since I'd seen how the patient was doing. Most of the shift had passed quietly for him. When I stepped into the room the visitor at his bedside said to me "You might not want to hear this."

The patient was lying not uncomfortably in his bed but gesturing broadly with his arms. He was slowly and dramatically repeating one phrase with little variation. In a Richard-Prior-like Sunday-morning falsetto he said "My car... in the garage...smells like p*$$y!" He said it as if he were preaching it to some wide but invisible and appreciative audience, and he bowed his head a little after each recitation.

"My car... in the garage... smells like p*$$y!"

Okay, mon ami, I thought, no more drugs for you.

But then I thought again. Maybe he actually did need more drugs.

That was the limit of his strangeness. He wasn't acting out any more than that, and he seemed safe enough. I thought he might have been putting me on a little, because he was not entirely disoriented. He knew he was going for his procedure later, for example.

Hey, I thought, they'd be giving him more drugs there. Perfect. No worries, then.

Problem solved.

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