I fell into a rabbit hole of my own writing this weekend. When I should have been working on my statistics homework. At the bottom of every blog post, there is a posts related to selection of previous posts.
These are not necessarily related to other posts.
I don’t know why the program thinks so.
I wended deeper and deeper into Dispatches from the Evening Shift archives.
And I say a post about the patients that I carry.
This was a small series I wrote in 2019 about patients who I remember. The first one I highlighted was my very first patient in clinical in 1994. I remember her well.
And that got me to thinking about a patient I had a few years ago, prior to the now customary alerts on the computer regarding gender, and sex, and name changes.
It was a patient who was in the computer system twice.
Same name, same birthday, same address, different genders.
Obviously they were in twice because they were transitioning and the system had not yet been updated.
The CRNA was breathing down my neck about choosing the one that the CRNA felt matched the birth certificate.
And that made me very uncomfortable. Not because they are in the middle of transition. Because this was a person who had made a deliberate and, I’m sure agonizing, choice to present as something else.
But because the CRNA would not fathom that this might be a thing. Their mind was so small that to suggest that it could be a thing enraged them.
And made for a very long case, with them fuming, after the case started and the patient was asleep about how the patient obviously was confused and needed to be taught the ways of the world. The ways that the CRNA felt it should be done.
This patient had to withstand snide comments prior to the case, with the CRNA losing their mind over the possibility that this was the patient’s choice and not the CRNA’s choice.
This was several years ago and the me of today would never have stood for it. I would have used my polite words to tell the CRNA that the patient needed to be cared for in the moment, regardless of how the CRNA thought about it. Definitely not in front of the patient, like the CRNA was doing. And I would have reported the CRNA at the end of the case.
Because people are different. And it is not any of my business what they do with their own lives. All we can do, as health care workers, is honor their choice. Their burden is hard enough without me weighing it down more with judgement.
I think this is a timely musing, as the country is currently embroiled in a witch hunt against people who are different.
Because people are different and that’s okay.
I’ll say it louder if I have to, so the ones with their heads in the sand or fingers in their ears can hear.
I think about that patient now and again, especially when I see another patient alert in the computer system that a patient is non-binary, or prefers different pronouns. The healthcare systems are slowly changing to accommodate them.
I hope the patient from years ago is okay. And I hope they remember not the CRNA who othered them because they dared to be outside of what that CRNA felt was appropriate, but they remember that the care that they got when they needed it was compassionate.
At least, from the circulating nurse.