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Naked time

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Nothing dirty here, just a rumination of nakedness in the hospital.

You know it’s not going to be a good night when the first thing you do is forcibly redirect a naked man out of the hallway and back to his bed. Even though he was suffering from a nasty case of Versed-itis© (odd, sometimes insane behavior in normally sane and calm people as an adverse reaction to Versed), he was jumping out of bed post-angio and running into the halls naked as we were trying to keep him safe. It’s always fun when the doc is yelling for some help as she is being chased by the naked dude in his nude adventures.

It gets better when the IV nurse comes out of a room and says, “Yeah, thanks. I just saw your patient’s penis. Oh, and he tried to come on to me.” That’s a surefire way to ensure no one bothers you the rest of the night.

Perhaps the best is when the naked patient is running around the unit doing laps, with a nurse or two chasing him with a gown and sheets. It’s pretty hilarious.

What is it about the hospital that promotes nakedness? Could it be the drugs? Could it be the lowered inhibitions due to neurological decline? Could it just be that these patients don’t care?

Luckily for me, it’s been all three. There was the psych patient in with syncope, on whom the residents stopped all the anti-psychotics, thinking they were contributing to the syncope (turns out it was the pauses he was having), but he ended up naked every night..

There have been several cases of drug-induced nakedness, like angio boy. And the neuro decline brings to mind the Huntington’s patient who slept naked and would jump out of bed to run to the bathroom, except sometimes he got lost heading there and ended up in the hallway.

Ninety-nine percent of it has always been guys, though. It’s like we’re so enamored of our own bits that we need to show them off to the entire world, whether they want to see them or not. If it’s in the rooms, I could care less. Like the dementia patient whose wife told us they had slept naked for years and it was comforting to him, and once we got the clothes off, he slept like a baby.

It’s been pretty rare to have a female streaker. I guess the societal mores are too deeply embedded in them (they just tell you about their need for a new vibrating friend…). But when the lights go down at the hospital, too often the clothes come off. And not in a Grey’s Anatomy way. Some will argue that this is just part of nursing. It is. A funny one!

I know, however, that when I’m of the age and in the hospital, I’ll be the one running naked down the hall, freaking everyone out!

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The nurse blog Lost on the floor: Tales of a (not so new) nurse has become one of the most widely read (and enjoyed) nurse blogs on the Web. It is authored by “Wanderer,” a Charge Nurse on a busy Telemetry unit somewhere in metro Portland. He reads, writes, cooks and is a passionate bicycle commuter.
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7 Responses to Naked time

  1. sbosse

    I find that it is usually the pt that you would LEAST want to see naked, that feels compelled to strip and share.

  2. Heather Reed Newsom

    I took care of a man with end stage Alziemers a couple yrs. ago.He would have these psychotic episodes where he would come out of his room with his pants around his ankles and a blanket with the American flag held up over his head. The blanket always ended right @ his crotch and his manhood would be standing straight out like it was ready to pledge it’s allegence.

  3. nurseb

    Its the naked and….um, slightly off patients that make this job interesting. And fun! I would be SO BORED without them!

  4. Jay smith

    I recently had a TURP surgery and while I was in the recovery room it seemed like every nurse and tech had to come take a peek at everything under the gown. A nurse brought by 2 young nurses most likely student nurses, and she got hold of my penis to show them the catheter and explained every thing to them while I just had to lie there becasue i was still numb from the spinal they used. Then I was transfered to my room for the night and had several more student nurses being taught about the set up, the only part that bothered me was that I was never ask if it was ok for them to observe,

  5. Jeri

    We actually had a female patient make it to the elevators wearing her gown on her back like a cape while her front was exposed to the world. I believe that it was a young dietary worker who said that he was now scarred for life.

  6. Michelle

    Ummm…I don’t think it’s the hospital…I think it just is what it is…like we always say a grumpy old man, was a grumpy young man…A naked man in the hospital is more than likely a naked man at home too…Leave it to Moms to make sense about all of this…the precious comment from my Mom is, “You should always wear clothes in case there’s a fire…” Good point…haha

  7. icumomof3

    I had a very large patient (almost 600lbs) that had a VERY large scrotum and he did not like to be covered with sheets or his gown and he would always lay on his side…..insert visual here…..