I already had a good rapport with a stable patient who had a previous stroke and experienced expressive aphasia as a deficit. (For the non medical people: it means the patient understands language, but cannot speak the words that he/she means to say.)
I popped my head into his room because I wanted to check on him quickly. I had some situations arise and I knew I would not be back for a while. I guess some other family members arrived while I was out of the room.
"Hi Mr. Soandso. Are you feeling any better after the medicine I gave you?"
He shook his head for yes.
I proceeded to tell him I would check on him later and that is he needed anything, all he had to was call. I was pretty much in a rush, so I started to head out the door.
The one family member there jumped up and stated, "He can't talk. He had a stroke."
"Yes, I already am aware of that. We've been communicating though." And I left the room, jotted some notes on his chart.
The woman approached me in the hallway. "What's your name?" I told her. "You were really defensive when I told you about how he couldn't talk. And you kept talking to him."
What I said: "Well, I'm sorry if you thought that. My intention was not to appear defensive."
What I wanted to say:
Ma'am, stop wasting my time right now with your petty hurt feelings. I don't have time for this. What you misconstrued as defensive was me trying to juggle 40 balls at one time - if I didn't even pop my head in there for a minute, he wouldn't have seen me for hours. Yes, I'm going to talk to him. I know he can't speak in complete sentences, but he understands. I talk to many patients that I don't know if they are mentally there - people in comas, post resuscitations, etc. It's called respect.
I just got done telling a mother that her child's symptom is cancer. She's in complete shock and is dealing with the horrible news by lashing out at her nurse. I don't enjoy it, but ya know something - she has an excuse.
In the other room, I have a patient that coded an hour ago and died. I have yet to talk to the family. I went into the room and saw that no one helped me out by cleaning up the body a bit. It was a very messy death. How can I let the spouse go in and see his loved one like that? I had to clean her up quite a bit and set up the room so her spouse can say goodbye.
As I running about for those patients, I had to check that the kid with a bleeding wound had enough gauze and pressure so his bleeding was controlled.
So, your delicate temperament is really, really low on my priority list.
Oh, and since you're giving me grief, I'm enforcing the one visitor policy rule - please head to the lobby.