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!
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.
By Lost on the Floor