Yesterday’s shift was challenging in many ways, but mostly because we had a “Bermuda Triangle of sundowners”.
If you never heard about sundowners, those are patients with dementia that suffer hyperactive nocturnal activity and personality changes as soon as the sun goes down.
Seriously, it looks like a clip from Dr Jekyll’s/Mr Hyde’s situation. You have proverbial dear old Doris that chats with you about her youth and how she won a dancing contest while nibbling on the cookie, but as soon as the sun goes down, the same lovely lady spews obscenities, calling you names and throwing shit on the wall. Nope, that is not an exaggeration.
Yesterday’s shift was just like this, except we had three such patients waiting for the hospital beds. During the day, lovely albeit slightly lost polite people and then the sun went down, and the brain switch flipped.
As they were located in three different places in the department, forming a perfect triangle, the dialogue unfolded.
P2 “Fuck off!”
P3 “Who said it?!’
On repeat, for 10 hours from sundown till sunrise, while most of the doctors and nurses had to sit at the working station in the middle of this three-way rewinding discussion. You can’t even blame those poor people despite them spewing obscene, homophobic, racist or xenophobic abuse because you know it is not them but their damaged brain talking, and in the morning, they won’t even remember and turn back into a lovely elder who wants to eat cookies with you.
So you keep calm and carry on, but … man, I have such a fucking headache right now.