Talking with patient who are confused can often be challenging, but also occasionally amusing.
Case in point:
Me, to the fairly confused patient who came to our ER because he was threatening to hurt himself:
"Sir, do you know where you are?"
"Yes, I do. I am in an unfortunate place." (I got excited for a minute thinking he might actually remember where he was today.)
"What place is that?"
"The Saluda County Jail."
"No, sir, you are in the ER of Self Hospital."
He looks totally surprised. "You are lying. I'm not in the hospital."
"Yes, sir, you are. You've been here for 3 weeks."
"3 weeks?? No, I haven't. You better ask them out there. You are mistaken." He points to the nurses in the hall.
"If you ask them, they'll tell you the same thing. You've been here in the ER for 3 weeks."
Now to them: "Have I been here for 3 weeks?"
The helpful nurse responds: "Yes."
He asks again, "Solid?"
"I must be confused." At this point he begins to look for his pockets, obviously trying to find his phone. The problem is that he is wearing the type of paper jumpers we provide to patients when they are suicidal. They have no pockets.
I try again to assess his orientation. "Do you know what year it is?"
"No, sir, it's actually 2011."
He looks at me, incredulous.
"Well, one of us must be crazy."