Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blinda and the exploding heart

One more tattoo post, then I swear I'm done!

After yesterday's post, I remembered another memorable patient with skin art. This particular patient came in, in labor with her sixth child. I was doing her admission, whilst another nurse would be caring for her during labor.

This woman was very country -- as one of my friends said, she "looked like she had been rode hard and put away wet." One of the River People, as she said, whatever that means. With her hillbilly river person hubby with her. Sweet, but very unrefined.

The nurse who would be caring for her, on the other hand, only liked to take care of the 1% of patients who came in married, employed, with insurance. This was not a match made in heaven.

So, here I am, asking the admission questions, part of which is how many pregnancies have you had, did you have any complications, etc. Sixth pregnancy, she said, but her last baby died. After expressing my condolences, I asked what had happened, as it had bearing on how we'd care for her and the baby.

"Her heart exploded," she answered. You know, fifteen years later, I'm still trying to get the visual on that.

Shortly afterward, her nurse asked for help doing the IV on Mrs River Woman, because she had no veins, and was less than cooperative. I told her I'd give it a try. Looked at her right arm: nothing. Went around to the left, pulled up her sleeve, and was face to face with a half done, obviously amateur tattoo of God knows what. "Oh," I said, "you have a tattoo." "Yeah," said Mr River Person, "if you think she's screamin' now, you shoulda seed her when I was doin' that tattoo."

I'm so sorry to have missed that little bonding experience.

So, labor progresses, then totally stalls. Her nurse is frustrated because the patient is not cooperative. She comes out and flops herself into a chair with a cup of coffee. Suddenly, a blood curdling scream comes from the direction of the River People's room. We went charging in there like the cavalry, only to find that she was delivering. Right now. The doctor who had been sleeping in a call room down the hall totally missed the delivery, that's how fast it happened.

After all the madness calmed down, I wrapped the baby up for her mom to hold. I had a premonition, but asked the question anyway. "What are you naming the baby?"

They responded in unison: "Blinda."

Yep. B-L-I-N-D-A. No E. And somehow, the premonition I'd had whilst bundling the baby up was spot on. I guess that was my bonding moment with the River People, but it was bizarre. Never had that happen before, or after -- only with Blinda. And if you knew what her last name was, you'd really laugh, cause it was a really crazy combinations of names.

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