Mr. Sanger Ave. (name has been changed) is an 81 year old who came in for symptomatic anemia and was diagnosed with leukemia while in the hospital. I had him weeks ago and had to push Dextrose-50 (basically pure sugar) into his veins about 4 times because his blood glucose kept dropping and also had to transfuse a unit of blood. For the past three days, he’s been alert and chipper when I greet him in the mornings and he’s the most sarcastic person I’ve ever known. The man is actually very sharp and cracks cranky old-man jokes all the time, but when I’d come to see what he needed in the evenings, he’d be sitting there, the telephone next to him and some phone numbers, eyes watery and saying, “I don’t know why my son won’t call me back. I honestly can’t stand to be this way, I’d rather be dead.” And my heart would just move and melt, so even though I’ve got other patients to help, I’d go next to him at his bedside and hold his hand and tell him it’ll be okay.

Anyway, so here’s a conversation that would ensue:

Kiss My Wrist: “Mr. Sanger Ave! You’re all wet! You should have called me for the urinal!”
*Proceeds to get a Clinical Tech and diapers/wipes to clean him up*
Mr. Sanger Ave: “What’s the point? Nobody comes when I call for it anyway.”
*At this point, I’m washing him*
Kiss My Wrist: “Oh– you’re mad at me. You’re mad because I didn’t come fast enough. You’ve got a grudge against me!”
Mr. Sanger Ave: “It doesn’t even matter. Oh, I need the urinal now.”
*Kiss My Wrist gets the urinal and helps him to position himself*
Kiss My Wrist: “Mr. Sanger Ave., you don’t trust me! You don’t trust me anymore!”
Mr. Sanger Ave: “I don’t trust you? My balls are in your hands, of course I trust you!”
*Kiss My Wrist and Clinical Tech can’t stop laughing for 5 minutes*

In the “Staff Centering Room”:
Charge Nurse: “Aimee was throwing her toy cellphone, so I talk to her sharp! Sometimes it’s good to be gentle with kids, but not all the time. Sometimes you have to be firm. I made her explain to me what she did wrong.”
Black Clinical Tech 1: “I’d have spanked her. That child would feel that her action was wrong!”
Charge Nurse: “But we were in the car, I couldn’t spank her.”
Black Clinical Tech 1: “Oh, I can spank from in the car. I don’t even need to stop!”
Black Clinical Tech 2: “Mm-mm, you don’t even need to stop!”
Black Clinical Tech 1: “You just–”
*Makes motions of her hand thrusting back and slapping somebody.
Black Clinical Tech 2: “I would just throw the phone out the window and say, ‘Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about that anymore!'”

And another elderly woman patient of mine had a husband who would come by to visit her, feed her, and spend all day with her. He was such a proper gentleman and would always leave the room to give me space to help his wife with whatever we needed to do. One time I walked in and found them just sitting there, holding hands, without words and just looking at each other. It was the most adorable and inspiring and encouraging thing that I’ve seen in a while, and I feel that love can live.

In such a controlled environment as the hospital, there are a lot of surprising events and people.