There I am feeling soft and mushy, taking care of this very ill and seemingly debilitated patient. As I clean her body, I feel guilty for taking my own health for granted and my heart goes out to her. I take extra special care to remember to comb her hair after I wash her body and put on body lotion, baby powder and perfume. Tugging, pulling and pushing all by myself, I change her diapers and her position in bed every 2-4 hours. I touch her hand and ask her how she is but there is no answer. I feel even more sad thinking that she won’t last long.
But then a “miracle” happens…
Her family request that the doctor release her for a weekend. He grants the pass out. The family arrive the next day to fetch her and she sits right up, walks to the bathroom, takes a hot shower and gets dressed like any healthy person would. I watched in disgust as she laughed and joked with her family. This woman had been crapping in diapers when she was fully capable of walking! I spent a lot of time taking care of her and feeling sorry for her and she had been faking it the whole time. Even worse, she could hear me when I spoke to her and asked her to get better. She was probably sniggering under the covers when I turned my back!
I felt really pissed off that she wasted my time and energy and used me like that! She didn’t even leave with a small thank you and she never returned to the hospital since. Now I know how a wet wipe feels!
There are people who try to act sicker than they are but they don’t all manage to pull it off that well. This morning I had a patient who tried to fake like she was shivering. I almost laughed on her face at her failed attempt to get some attention (glad for the facemask I was wearing that hid my smile). She just looked so hilarious. Her body was not trembling, her lips were not quivering, her teeth were not chattering. She just bobbed her head from side to side like an Indian dancer and made a strange sound that resembled the mooing of a cow. Acting FAIL!