Humour in Healthcare 3.2

Roy G. Mundheim | January 31st, 2018

Two weeks ago, I voluntarily removed “Humour in Healthcare 3” from the VCH Up for Discussion blog. I told a joke that described a nurse talking back to a rude patient, and some readers considered the joke inappropriate, even offensive. There were even suggestions that the post may have violated VCH’s Social Media Policy. Some people felt that in my story about people with unusual names, staff and patients were identifiable, even though I made up or used common names for patients and co-workers.

While I disagree that the post was inappropriate, I respect that Vancouver Coastal Health has, and should have, a high standard when it comes to content, policy, and representation.

These stories/jokes are 90% made-up or simply inspired by an idea following a real event. Names, genders, ages, and identifying characteristics are always changed. Recognizing that someone has an unusual name or that someone was potentially rude seemed neutral enough when I wrote the original post. Anyone watch Emergency Room: Life and Death at V.G.H. or read the recent local article on patient violence against healthcare staff? Sometimes there is a lack of respect for staff and I felt that it could be acknowledged.

Every challenge in life is a learning experience: Maybe jokes/stories about respect (or lack thereof) for staff isn’t the most useful or productive way to tackle the topic. A more serious post on respect would probably yield better, less offensive results and get us all talking about something that is a worthwhile issue. “Respect in Healthcare” may be coming next.

I considered no longer writing for VCH due to fear and the risk of angering or offending people. However, I decided it was important for me to challenge myself to write/re-write the post with a larger, more discerning audience in mind. It’s not my intention to offend but rather to find the lighter side of the difficult, stressful, and anxiety-inducing moments that occur when working in healthcare.

The following is my attempt to offend less, while still finding the lighter side of life, and learning lessons along the way. The following views and opinions (which are not actually my views and opinions but are, in fact, jokes) are strictly my own and are not a reflection of the views and policies of Vancouver Coastal Health.

Prepare to be offended.

So, this happened…..or maybe it didn’t

It was just before midnight at VGH and the doctor ordered an important liquid medication for a patient to be given immediately. It wasn’t on the ward and everyone told me pharmacy was closed for the night.

I called down to the ER. They had the medication, but I would need to come down and get it. I gave report on my patients to my fellow nurse and made my way down to the catacombs of VGH’s Emergency Department.

I came across an office with a person working and asked, “Can you tell me how to get to ‘Acute AB’?”

They got up out of their desk and said, “I’ll show you.”

I followed this person as we went through double doors after double doors, turned, and turned again. Bruce Willis navigating The Nakatomi Building was easier than this. Eventually I found my way to the locked medication cabinet.

I logged in and poured 110ml of 120 ml of the liquid medication I needed because the bottle ran out. Eventually I found another bottle for the last 10 ml. I then tried to make way back to the ward, again getting lost. I found another office with someone working and when I asked for help, they too just got up out of their desk and started showing me where to go.

After going through the Chamber of Secrets under Hogwarts, passing by the Arc of the Covenant, and battling a Balrog, I found myself back at the elevators and returning to the ward.

When I arrived back I heard, “Hey Roy. You just got a delivery in the tube system from pharmacy for that liquid medication you were looking for.” At that moment I thought, “I should write Humour in Healthcare 3.”

No Balrog, wizards, nurses, or patients were hurt in this story (which partially happened….sort of).

No Offense 

I recently took a course on how to deal with people who become agitated and angry (through dementia, delirium, drugs, mental illness, anger issues etc). One strategy suggested that you offer them cookies and ice cream and show them photos on your phone of your cat. It was a long day talking about a myriad of issues and scenarios.

I went to work a week later and someone asked me what I learned from the course.

I said, “Well, one strategy is to take out your phone and show them photos of your cookies and then offer them cat and ice cream.”

Just Ask

Before leaving a patient, I always ask, “Is there anything else you need?”

Some patients are hilarious. I get answers like, “Yeah, a ticket out of here.” “A million dollars.” “A new healthy body.” etc.

Sometimes I have to just smile, pretend I didn’t hear, and move on.

One shift, I asked my patient, “Is there anything else you need?”

He said, “Yeah. I want booze, music, and orgies!”

I brought him a cheddar Kraft Single.

“What is this?”

“I couldn’t get you booze or music…. but here’s the orange cheese you asked for.”

This, absolutely, never happened. Well, I have brought patients cheese before. They ate it. Everyone was happy.

The Replacement Joke

Why did the banana call for the nurse?

Because it wasn’t peeling well.

I did not write this joke. It was told to me by my six year old nephew….I mean niece.

The End

I brought a patient all his medication one evening. I brought his pills, liquid, an inhaler, eye drops, two injections, and a suppository.

I asked him, “Would you like to get the suppository over with first?”

He said, “No. I’ll save that for the end.”

The End

Disclaimer: These “jokes” are excerpts from my personal blog. All names and identifying features are changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality….except for me, I’m me. No cats, patients, or nurses were harmed in the writing of these jokes…although one doctor did cry a bit.

About the Author

Roy G. Mundheim
email iconroy.mundheim@vch.ca   |   web iconhttps://roygmundheim.wordpress.com/

Roy G. Mundheim is a Norwegian-Canadian freelance writer and Registered Nurse living in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Lesly. Roy currently works as an acute care nurse at Vancouver General Hospital. He also has extensive experience in geriatric long term and hospice/palliative care. You can find his ridiculous musings regularly on his blog where he writes about health, fitness, food, drink, mindset, lifestyle, travel and much much more. He thinks he’s pretty funny too.

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