My patient’s daughter had been up all night in the ED with her mother and by now it was just after noon. She was very tired. Nonetheless, I needed to find her to ask an important question.
I got to the waiting room and found approximately 10 family members, but not the daughter. I asked where she was.
“We aren’t really sure.”
I thought this was a strange response. Not only was she a nurse, but the person I wanted to speak with knew the patient best out of everyone there. She just wasn’t the kind of person who took off without telling anyone where she was going.
“Ok… ?” Then I just stared at them all, because sometimes that will elicit more of a response. People don’t like being stared at blankly.
“The doctor told us that he took her somewhere to rest, but he said that we had to leave her alone, and he wouldn’t tell us where he took her.”
Hearing “we think she ran off to join the circus” would have been only slightly more surprising.
I went back to the nurse’s station and related my story to some other nurses working with me that day. We were all quite puzzled and just a tiny bit amused. As it happened, the doctor in question showed up at the desk and I told him that I had something important to discuss with the patient’s daughter and would he mind, please, letting me know where he stashed her?
He said he would not do that. He said she was tired and stressed by her mother’s condition and needed rest.
Well, yeah, but I really needed to know if the patient had had the flu shot this season, lest I be reprimanded over not providing a complete admission record. (Not really, but I did need to know something rather important.)
He said she’d be there in a little while. About half an hour later she appeared in her mother’s room.
Her family thanked me profusely for “finding her.”