May 11, 2010
I like a challenge. And that was just what I got with a patient the other night. She was a very young teen mother with an entourage of equally young, demanding young women. I usually do very well with the young mothers. I'm not sure why, but somehow they seem to put their trust in me and I'm able to help them through the labor/delivery process. This mother was a challenge. Normally a mild mannered, shy girl according to her father, labor brought out "the worst" in her (her parents words, not mine). Yes, labor will do that. I'm used to that: cursing, yelling, screaming, grabbing, flailing arms and legs (I draw the line at kicking, hitting and biting, and yes, someone has tried to bite me, and one patient tried to kick me when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Isaiah because I wouldn't "Give her a c-section") She cursed, moaned, waved her support people off with her hands and was just downright hateful to everyone. Her mother was in tears by the end of the night from the stress and abuse she received at the hands of her daughter. The hard part was trying to figure out just what she wanted. She didn't want me in the room supporting her. She would shoo her support people out of the room then yell at them for leaving. She didn't want anyone talking, touching her, rubbing her back, etc. But she was on the call light all the time and in between, her friends were out at the desk, saying that she needed me NOW. No problem, that's what I'm there for. But after awhile, it became a bit tiresome. She rolled her eyes at every single suggestion I made to help her become more comfortable. She didn't want any pain, but didn't want an epidural. I gave her pain medication, but that only goes so far and after awhile, doesn't do a whole heck of a lot. And it was her friends that seemed to have the hardest time with the contractions. At one point, one of them made a trip (one of many) to the desk and asked with a very degrading tone if the patient could have pain medicine yet. So I go in the room and talk with the patient, who tells me she didn't want any pain medicine right now. The only thing I did that she seemed to like was give her warm packs and ice packs. Now these packs I had to make myself. For the warm packs, I would get a chux (disposable, absorbant, water-proof liner) put a towel in the middle, pour hot water from the coffee pot on the towel, wrap the chux pad around it, tape it and place it in a cloth girdle and taped the ends closed, so it wouldn't be too hot against her skin. For the ice packs, I double bagged crushed ice, placed two bags in a cloth girdle and taped the ends together. She liked those. Only problem - they won't last 12 hours. So I made them multiple times and she became angry when they weren't hot/cold. I explained to her and her friends that it would take a couple minutes for me to make them. Did that stop her friends from coming to the desk, giving me dirty looks, demanding to know what took me so long? No. I finally put them together in her room so her friends could see the process. I was in and out of that room only God knows how many times. I don't mind being busy, I like supporting women in labor, and I have spent an entire 12 hour shift in a room with the patient while she labored, but nothing I did seemed to be what this mom wanted. I am very patient and understanding, but I can only take so much abuse. I was frazzled and exhausted by the time change of shift came. In the end, I hope I gave her the support she wanted and needed. I did my best. Hope it was good enough.