Preview Sixteen

Stabbing Back Pains


I had been expecting Pam to be awake.

I was in her room one morning after mitral valve surgery. They’d gotten her off the ventilator some time in the middle of the night. The nurse was gathering her notes and getting ready to write report, finishing up an 11p-7a shift caring for four patients. I asked her  how Pam did during the night.

“Well, she was restless all night, kept twisting and moving around. Seems like she couldn’t get comfortable.” She lightly stroked Pam’s cheek with the back of her hand. “Poor thing.”

This is what she’d just written in her notes:

“Nurse’s note 06:20 Pt more restless and moving constantly in bed. Has received Ativan and Fentanyl… She is reporting stabbing back pains… she has repositioned herself repeatedly…”


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