Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why I love geriatrics....

Interaction A:
"How are you feeling today?" I ask my patient when I go into her room. She's a thin black woman, wearing glasses that I would say are too large for her face. Today the thin white sheet is pulled up around her chin. Yesterday she was sitting up in her chair. Her blue night cap is covering her head, its thin ruffle framing her face.
"I feel pretty droozy."

Interaction B:
"Is your tummy hurting?" I repeat, my voice nearly at a yell because she couldn't hear me the first time I asked. She is curled up in bed, her frail limbs contracted from years of being bedridden. Her hair is soft and white. I push softly on her stomach, watching her face to make sure she doesn't wince. She looks up at me, her mouth an open hollow from her lack of teeth.
"I didn't know I had a funny bone in my stomach," she replies in her garbled speech, her eyes crinkling up, as if she's trying to smile. It takes me a minute to decipher exactly what she said.
"I don't think you do," I respond, nearly laughing out loud. I wonder what she might have heard that made her say that.
She smiles at me again. "Well, thanks for asking."

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