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Jan 20, 2022 9:07 AM
dath ilan marian alt in atlas shrugged
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Oh no! This is absolutely Merrin's fault for not even thinking to check if she needed to pee! 

"I'm so sorry about that. I'll check just as soon as I send this blood for testing, and we can get you changed." 

 

 

It takes her another ten minutes, though, before the blood is sent and the antibiotic is running and she's taken another blood pressure - it's up to 90/50, which isn't amazing but at least it's headed in the right direction - and then confirmed that Sherry is, indeed, lying in a puddle. She tracks down clean sheets and, since she can't find any wet wipes, some small face towels. 

And then she's faced with the problem that Sherry is in a lot of pain, with a probably-broken hip, and definitely not able to turn herself in bed. 

"I'm sorry, I need to find someone who can help me out with this," she says, and goes off to hunt for the least-busy fellow nurse. 

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There's a readhead patiently explaining to a very angry middle-aged man that she cannot "just fix" his peumonia while he coughs all over her and interrupts whenever he isn't coughing. She's not exactly non-busy but looks like she would love an urgent interruption right now.

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(Is the nurse wearing any kind of personal protective equipment? If not: added to the tally of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.) 

Merrin sidles up. Smiles at the patient and gives him a tiny wave, then turns to the nurse. "Hi! I'm Merrin, I'm new here. Um, I need a hand changing some bed linens - if you have time to help now, I'd be happy to help you out with something else after." 

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"Oh yes of course, I'll be back in a moment Mr Sidlington." She gives Merrin a little smile of thanks once they're both facing the other way.

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Merrin leads her back down the aisle. "It's for Sherry Williams in twelve, she's wet herself - I feel awful about it, I didn't even ask if she needed to go, and she's likely got a UTI and just got two liters of fluids. Everything I need is there, she just can't turn on her own. Um, want me to try having a chat with your patient after? What's he upset about?" 

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"Oh, that would be lovely of you, he has an important business meeting tomorrow and says he needs to not be coughing by then but I can't cure pneumonia overnight and I'd really like to convince him to stay overnight for observation, I don't like the sound of his lungs at all."

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"Oh no, poor guy, that is awkward timing. I wonder if there's any way he could phone in to the meeting?" 

They reach bed twelve, and Merrin explains to Sherry what they're doing. 

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Sherry is clearly in a lot of pain when being turned, but she puts a brave face on it, and is very cooperative. 

"Is my son here yet?" she asks Merrin after they've gotten the sheets changed. 

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"Not yet. He said an hour and it's been, um, I think about twenty-five minutes, so he'll be a bit." 

Merrin thanks the nurse who helped her and promises to go talk to Mr Sidlington in a few minutes, once she's made sure that she's caught up on everything here. 

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Mr. Sidlington is as he previously was, hacking phlegmy cough and all.

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This would be easier if Merrin knew any additional facts about him, other than 'businessman' and 'has pneumonia', but she approaches and smiles warmly. 

"Hi! I heard you have a scheduling difficulty for a meeting tomorrow?" 

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"Yes," cough, "I'm going to be meeting with a man in Washington about" cough cough "a very important matter, and I've got to have this cough fixed before then." Hack hack wheeze.

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"Oh no! I'm so sorry, that's really unfortunate timing. Washington - is a long way away, right? You would need to fly there? Sorry, I'm new to the country, I don't know the geography very well yet." 

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"I can take the train down this evening, if that idiot nurse from earlier doesn't try to keep me here the whole damn night."

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Merrin glances around for the nearest chair, pulls it over, and sits next to him; it's going to feel less confrontational if her eyes are level with his. 

"You're an adult, and of course you can make your own prioritization here," she says. (Probably this is true? In dath ilan it would only be false in a few unusual cases.) "But it sounds like your pneumonia is pretty bad. If I were you, I'd be pretty worried about getting to Washington and feeling too terrible to attend the meeting at all! Do you think there's any possible way you could either reschedule it, or maybe phone in and do it remotely?" 

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"I can't reschedule on Washington! Why can't you just fix it, isn't that your job?"

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"I know it's inconvenient, but most medicine isn't instantaneous, especially if you don't come in for treatment until your cough is already this nasty. We can give you antibiotics to kill the infection, but your immune system still needs to get caught up." 

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"I don't" cough "want to hear a bunch of excuses!"

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This is a really bizarre interaction to be having. 

"Well," Merrin says evenly, "do you want to tell me about your excuses for not seeing a doctor days ago? How long have you had a cough?" 

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"I don't know, four days, maybe five? I'm a busy man, I can't go running off to a doctor all the time."

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“Is this the first time you’ve been seriously ill like this?” Merrin sighs. “I suppose I don’t blame you for waiting and hoping it’s resolve on its own, if it’s always this busy and a long wait. But prevention and catching illnesses early is nearly always going to cost you less time, let alone discomfort - you look pretty miserable right now. You really need to take the antibiotics and make sure you get lots of rest, or you’re likely to get even sicker. Have you been stressed about work, or working very long hours and cutting out sleep? Both can weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection.”

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"Yes, of course I have, I'm very busy all the time with important work." He sounds somehow simultaneously plaintive and proud of this.

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Merrin nods. “You must have a pretty important position. …You know, I think it’s really not in your workplace’s interest either to overwork you to the point of illness. If you’d waited much longer to come in for treatment, you might have needed to stay in the hospital and have oxygen to help you breathe. I’m not sure what the usual procedures are here for informing an organization of key information like this so they can reassess their policies? Sorry, I’m not from here, I trained in a foreign country - where I’m from there’d be a standard form to send in.”

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"I will inform my organization of anything they need to be informed about. You just give me the medicine."

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"- If you're sure. Your regular nurse will be giving you the medications ordered for your treatment. If you want, I can ask the doctor to come tell you why he's chosen the treatment he has, and what he would advise you about the meeting?" 

She has managed to notice that there's some sort of bizarre authority-dynamic happening here; it's as though the doctor is officially granted the status of a Very Serious Person in everyone's mind, despite the fact that he has a tiny fraction of the context that the nurses have on their patients. The man might feel more willing to listen to what the doctor has to tell him? 

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