A Patient's Norm
No one wanted to treat this patient. He was certainly different and at times difficult to understand. His goals often fluctuated based on his mood and he smelled of cigarette smoke and urine. I treated him though and we got along fairly well. His wife wanted him to be able to walk before taking him home and we achieved that goal with an SPC. It took about two months to get that far, then he hit another patient and was transferred somewhere else. Others told me I wasted time with that patient and he should have been discharged earlier because he was so volatile.
Another patient had flatulence everyday in the middle of the gym and it was often frowned on to bring him into the small area. His goal was to get back home and we almost achieved it but his other medical complications prevented him from discharging. Then there was the patient who had a large wad of chew between his cheek and gums. He was from the 101st Airborne with wounds and stories you wouldn't believe. Those who despised tobacco hated to see him with his cup of tobacco juice sitting on a table while he performed his exercises faithfully in the gym. I never mentioned the effects tobacco has on his body. I'm sure he would have told me where to go if I ever did. And who am I to dictate this patient's norms when I don't have a medal and never parachuted into a hostile territory?
We cannot expect patients to conform to our schedules, mandates and social order of things in a healthcare setting. The situation is foreign to them and they may not understand all the nuances involved in healthcare. Yet, we often expect patient to act and react in certain ways. The homeless patients I worked with have a different outlook than the very wealthy residents and each has a different perspective about their health provider. Our personal standards should be shelved as soon as we walk into a room and interact with a new patient. We cannot let our own personal values and social order dictate whether a patient has the ability to succeed or fail.