July 22, 2018

Last night was definitely a chill shift on the Oncology unit. I had only one patient that was obnoxious. It was a patient that was literally bleeding out of his ass almost non-stop, and he wouldn’t do anything about it. He would just let us know, wipe the blood up with a rag, then throw the rags all over the ground, next to all his trash, water cup, and food containers. He refused to have an absorbent pad on the bed (which would be easy to change, as opposed to all the bed linen). And to top it all off, there was really nothing we could even do about it. So no matter what nurse walked in, they all said the same thing “put pressure on it until it stops bleeding.” He would take the wet rag we’d hand him and throw it immediately away. Like what the hell. Oh and I didn’t mention that he’s also HIV+. So not only was his room disgusting, but it was a safety risk as well. Needless to say, I spent the least amount of time in that room as possible.

It made me think about a health presentation I went to in high school. It was actually my parents’ doctor, who I’ve always thought was kinda off, but now think he’s a complete idiot now that I’ve actually entered the medical field myself. He was presenting information about STDs to an auditorium full of sophomores. I remember him specifically talking about AIDS/HIV and how the virus can only last seconds outside the body. He said (almost an exact quote) that if someone with AIDS bleeds, you could “wait 10 seconds and dip your hands in it.” I’ve remembered that for almost a decade now. It made me feel a lot safer going in and out of that obnoxious patient’s room…until I brought this little factoid up with my coworker. She didn’t believe me, so I smugly google checked it. Sure enough, holy shit….it lasts 6 DAYS outside the human body, not 6 seconds. What the fuck.

It’s possible that my memory is flawed – it has been an extremely long time…But I remember the visualization he painted in my mind so vividly. I still think my parent’s doctor is a fucking idiot for a variety of other medical advice he’s given/decisions he’s made. I’m going to tell them to switch doctors (for the 12th time) next time I see them.