Poetic Voices Winner, 4th Place
Sixty-yr-old male presents with “come and go” chest pain times one week. Angiogram reveals 99% blockage of right coronary artery. As pt has hypertension, high cholesterol, and three packs a day to boot, pt is pretty goddamn lucky he did not have full-out myocardial infarction. Pt’s wife and other female family members cite divine intervention of Southern Baptist nature. Pt’s daughter, a Registered Nurse who works in this very Heart Center, smiles as she must at overbearing aunties.
Angioplasty successfully clears artery. Blockae had measured 8 mm, thus qualifying as “big frickin’ plaque.” Two stents placed—plop, plop!—as per routine. RN daughter present and looking on like hawk for duration. Pt experiences moderate discomfort post-op. Incision site at groin appears to wife to be bleeding like hell; RN daughter assures mother this is normal, dons gloves to apply pressure to her father’s groin.
Pt lectured by Cardiologist: “Eat more fish & fiber. If you do not quit smoking, you are gonna die.” RN daughter relieves on-duty co-worker of discharge teaching: “No bending over to tie your shoe, no driving, no picking up your grandson.”
RN daughter thinks nothing of mother’s request that she come home for a few days. Formulates nursing plan: Arrange alternating shifts with mother to be at pt’s soft-spoken, smiling beck-and-call, 24 hrs a day. Encourage pt to do exercise videos: “Up, up, up, Dad! Time to walk a mile with Denise Austin!”, every other day. Suggest hypnosis therapy for smoking cessation when dad is distracted by ESPN. Finally, administer one “I-love-you-dad” each night at bedtime, when breath is shallow and heart beats irregularly with fear and rage.