Mrs. Washington was one of those patients that was very easy to talk to. Some patients manifest their anxieties as anger or reticence. Not her. She made everybody feel at ease with her ready smile and outgoing demeanor. Patients have no idea what a huge difference this makes with hospital staff when they are able to put people around them relaxed and comfortable. It becomes a pleasure to work with the patient instead of a chore.
As we wheeled her into the procedure room, she proudly talked about her life which revolved around her many grandchildren. Once inside, I placed my monitors on her and got ready to induce the anesthesia. I asked her to think about something pleasant she would like to dream about as she started falling asleep. As I slowly pushed the propofol into her IV, I recalled hearing Usher's "Scream" playing on the radio in the backgound. In no time Mrs. Washington was ready for her endoscopy.
When she awoke after the procedure, the first thing she asked was "What happened to Usher?" The nurse and I looked bemusedly at each other. We asked her what she meant. She said she was having the most vivid dream of Usher. In her dream they were at a dance hall together and he was about to ask her to the dance floor. Her anticipation was sky high. As she reached out to him, ready to grab his inviting hand, she suddenly woke up. She said she wanted her Usher dream back. I reluctantly told her that her procedure was finished and it was time to wake up. She asked me if I could put her back to sleep for just a little while to finish her dream. I replied that unfortunately I can't put her back down again. Besides, even if I did there was no guarantee Usher will be there waiting for her.
Though clearly disappointed she nevertheless continued on about her adoration of Usher. All the way back the recovery room she jabbered continuously about watching him on the TV show "The Voice" and how he seemed like such a nice young man. Yes, we agreed, Usher does appear to be a very nice person on TV.
If the worst thing to happen that day was to disappoint a patient by breaking up her fantasy with Usher, then it won't be a bad day at all.