My patient tonight, R, weighs over 500 pounds. This presents interesting nursing challenges, like needing six people to roll her onto her side to change her linens. My back hurts just a twinge, mostly from sometimes having to lean so far over her to look at a drain or incision. She had surgery three days ago and just got extubated today, so while it will take her a while to recover, I think she'll be okay, barring any complications. She's wheelchair bound at home, but she still does live on her own. I'm feeling oddly overprotective of her, hearing other nurses make jokes and comments about her size. Now on one hand, nurses have exceptionally sick senses of humor, and we can make off-color jokes with the most seasoned of truckers. We justify it as a defense mechanism to some of the horrors we see...the old saying, "If you don't laugh, you're just going to cry." But on the other hand, for the most part, nurses retain a certain code of senstivity about a lot of things, especially things you don't say in front of a patient, even a sedated patient. But apparently someone's weight is a free subject, as if they had more control of it than a drug addict or an alcoholic. Maybe people are more uncomfortable about it because everyone's in danger of putting on a few pounds, maybe it's a constant and real fear. But seriously, it's not like this woman woke up one morning and made a conscious decision to weigh 500 pounds, nor does she want to weight that much. Okay, I'm stepping off my wee soap box now.
In other news, the pt L from a previous post died tonight. On a morphine drip with his family at his side, so that's a good thing.