The patient wasn’t mine, of course. We all worked as a team, so it didn’t really matter, though.
My basic understanding of him was that he was delirious for some reason. I wasn’t sure if he was an alcoholic, mentally ill, or someone who had had way too many meds to keep him calm.
Although he was belligerent with my friend, he couldn’t get out of bed. He seemed completely immobile: a difficult patient for sure but certainly not a threat.
Now, you must understand how mild mannered my fellow nurse was. She was very sweet, a nurse forever, but often overwhelmed by our workload.
I was a relatively new nurse by comparison, but I had a nose for trouble. When it started hitting the fan, I was almost always in the splatter range whether it was my patient or not.
I’m not sure what triggered the threat. I only knew that he became violent.
For a man who could not move at all, he moved with surprising quickness. I knew my friend was in trouble when I heard him yelling.
As most nurses do, I ran toward the sound of the problem to see if I could help. My friend backed out of the room, and I could see the patient standing next to the bed, his chest heaving.
With speed, he rushed to a chair, lifted it, and threw it at the door. My friend reached inside the room and pulled the door shut with a slam.
We held the door closed as multiple items continued to bang against it. I’m sure the chair hit it again as we heard a loud thud.
The patient continued to scream. We called security but it seemed like forever for them to get there.
Finally, four burly men arrived decked out in guns and other intimidating paraphernalia. “Don’t worry,” they said. “We’ll take care of this.”
Security pushed against the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He had barricaded himself in the room, a patient who was too weak to move mere minutes before.
The guards geared themselves up, put their shoulders against the door, and pushed hard. Patient and barricade went flying.
That was all the patient could take. He sprawled on the floor, unable to move, and the guards lifted him back into bed.
He was restrained but didn’t need to be. The man was incapable of movement, and he lay in bed nearly catatonic for the rest of the shift.
It just goes to show that you never know where a threat will come from, and you always need to be prepared.