Kindness pacifies fear

Towards the end of February, I had a blood transfusion and tested positive for the flu. Then a couple of days after I was released from the hospital, I started to run a temperature so high, it felt like my neck, ears and face were on fire. While my face felt like it was on fire, the rest of my body was so cold that my hand was trembling so badly that I could barely hold a cup of water. It was terrifying. Just to ease my parents’ minds and my mind, I decided to go to the local emergency room.

It was about 12:30 in the morning when I got to the emergency room. My motto whenever going to the emergency room is to have a positive attitude and to refrain from showing fear.

When I first got to the emergency room, the nurses attended to me immediately and they were positive and fun to talk to. One nurse listened to me as I rattled off everything I could think even if I thought it was unimportant. Then the other nurse came into the room to do my flu swap. It’s just so much fun to get an oversize Q-Tip stuck up your nose. I joked around with her about why we don’t just blow snot into a cup, because everything else is done in a cup.

At 2 a.m. I was woken up from a nap by a lovely tech who asked me if I could give her a urine sample. I was half asleep and respond with “maybe,” because I didn’t know if I would be able to. The tech then told me if I could not give her a sample within five minutes, she would put a catheter in me. This started my downward spiral of unhappiness.

So I gave her my sample because, Lord knows, I do not want a catheter. Then my nurse came into my room. He did the usual routine: he listened to my heart, lungs, stomach, checked my blood pressure and pulse oxygen. When he asked about my medication, I kept repeating that I was on medicine for Crohn’s disease. I completely forgot that I was also on Tamiflu because it’s something that I don’t take regularly and I was almost finished with taking it.

After the nurse left, the doctor finally came in. He explained how my flu swap came back negative and how it was probably a false negative because of my fever. He also gave me a lecture about how the only prevention is getting the flu shot.

After I was discharged, the nurse came back to the room to let me sign the discharge papers and to take out the IV that they never used. Then he started harping on the fact that I forgot to tell him about the Tamiflu. He didn’t just say it once or twice, he said it about five different times in the few minutes that he was in the room.

Earlier that week I was a patient at Siloam Springs Hospital for my blood transfusion. Everyone was so nice and I kept telling them how nice they were and how I appreciated it. They always responded with “you feel bad enough and we are here to help you feel better.”

Pre-medical and nursing majors please: remember that your patients are probably scared and worried even when they do not show it. Yes, some adults turn into little kids or clam up and forget to tell you stuff, but we do mean well. So please try to show more patience and forgiveness when things are not going right. Your patients do appreciate you and are thankful that you are taking care of them even if they do not show it.


Chapin is a junior majoring in communication. She can be reached at ChapinM@jbu.edu.