The Belligerent Patient


This past Friday, my son went to the hospital for some tests. He was there for several hours and like a good father, I was there waiting (see The Waiting Room). What I couldn’t write about at the time was the après tests. I was too busy getting him home and settled in.

Whatever they gave him caused some short term memory loss… not unusual I’m told. The kind of tests he was having were not something you’d want to remember.

But I remembered…

At 2:45pm last Friday, a nurse called and said I could pickup my son at 3:00pm. I retrieved the car, parked in the designated area and walked to the nurse’s station looking for my son. She pointed to a small waiting area while they brought him out.

He didn’t look very good, all pale and kind of grumpy. The young nurse was quick to point out that he was being very belligerent and went on to say; “I can’t imagine what he must be like when he drinks.” I told her we wouldn’t know, he doesn’t drink.

Definition of belligerent: hostile and aggressive.

I was shocked, he’s normally so quiet. However, I listened carefully as I could sense a story. The young nurse went on about his time in her care then, over her shoulder as she walked away, finished by saying he was saucy too. At this point an older nurse came over to help. Very nice, very patient, very helpful and explained what my son might be going through. Giving him a vomit bag, she explained how it could be held in such a way that it would resemble a puppet. He didn’t get it but kind of remembered that part the next day.

She helped us to the car, him in a wheelchair, me on the doors.

On the way home I tried to find out what happened, after all, it’s not often you hear the word saucy. Though groggy, he let loose with all kinds of words I won’t repeat on how the younger nurse treated him. Must have been very traumatic, it was for me. I got him safely tucked in bed and let him sleep it off, checking up on him every so often.

Saturday morning arrived and he is back to his old self, not remembering clearly what happened the day before. Being a good father, I told him of being belligerent and saucy even. He couldn’t believe it, wanting to hear the whole story, which I was glad to share. He was shocked. When I told him about some of the words he said coming home, he was incredibly shocked.

I told him not to worry about it, I’m sure that kind of thing happens all the time. He wasn’t so sure and vowed to have no more tests. All he could think about was how to get in touch with that nurse to apologize.

Easy, I said, schedule more tests…


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