If I was my patient, how would I feel?

THEY say “Remember apple, table, coin.”

I am angry.
You would be too.
Try not being able to speak.
Attempt to communicate and cause only confusion.

Try wearing a brief.
Sit in your urine and wait.
Then in your feces.
And to make the indignity worse
Allow a stranger to invade your privacy and
wipe. your. butt.
THEY did this to me. So I couldn’t be president.

Then skip all enjoyment of food.
Instead have a tube where sustenance goes
No. more. swallowing.
Water sipped could kill.

Maybe I’d prefer to die than to sit here like this.
I told THEM not to help me.

I blame THEM for this arm that doesn’t work.
Then THEY extend my fingers just to make it HURT like *%#

THEY are trying to control me.

THEY tell me these are voice.
How would you like to be told your reality isn’t real?
*%$@ you.
I. Am. Angry.
You would be too.

Then THEY ask me, “What did we memorize?”
Why are they asking? Of course I remember.



This is a piece about how I imagine it feels like to have Schizophrenia, dementia and a CVA (stroke) that caused dysphasia (inability to swallow, which means my nutrition is delivered to my stomach via a PEG tube) and a contracture of the arm and hand. It’s part of my reflection on CNA clinicals.

Asking a patient to remember three unrelated words is part of testing memory. It’s common for our minds to replace information we don’t remember with other information without us even being conscious of it.

Several times when I use the words THEY and THEM I’m referring to caregivers and several references are to delusions/hallucinations caused by Schizophrenia. I thought about differentiating them, but ultimately this piece is from the patient’s perspective and they may not be able to differentiate.

To prevent infections, a patient with a contractured hand will need to have their hand opened so it can be cleaned and dried. This can be extremely painful. So, this use of THEY refers to caregivers.


Nursing school starts on Monday, so this may be my last post for a while.

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