I want to take a moment to introduce you to some of my favourite patients of all time. These are the pearlers that I remember. For whatever rhyme or reason, they had an influence on me. I will be introducing a new one each Friday.
Firstly, may I introduce............
Gogo is a term used to describe an African grandmother. We often call patients Gogo. In the Zulu culture, it is a term of respect and even one of endearment. Gogo Grace looked like she was 102, but was probably more along the lines of 86. She didn't know her birth date, a common finding amongst the elderly Black population. This particular Gogo was in a surgical ward and wasn't quite mentally "all there".
She hated me from the first day I met her. I had to take blood from Gogo Grace, and she despised me for this. Elderly people often have the most terrible veins and it is a truly frustrating experience trying to get enough blood to even fill 2 tubes. Eventually I had resorted to taking femoral blood (blood from the femoral vein). This involved sticking a needle into Gogo Grace's groin. She really despised this. She shrieked and groaned, whilst being held down by 2 nurses. People behind the curtain must've thought I was killing her. Gogo Grace definitely thought I was killing her. I had to continue to work in that ward for another 2 months, and Gogo Grace, made it a living hell.
Everyday she would sit up in her cot bed and wait for me to walk past. She would then have some food (rice, carrot, potatoe....whatever they were serving) in her clawed hand, which she then proceeded to hurl at my head. Come rain or shine, each day, some edible thing would be lobbed at me. I even avoided meal times, but she would keep these morsels, hidden away, until I eventually came to the ward, and always had precision aim. I would arrive at the cafeteria for lunch, with bits of rice with gravy in my hair, that I had missed. Colleagues would point and say, "Did Grace get you again?"
Gogo Grace never spoke one word to me in 2 months. All I ever got was a grunt, or on a bad day, a scream. I eventually only filled out forms for her and left the procedures, like taking blood, to some poor other member of my team.
The last time I saw Gogo Grace, was about 3 years ago, but I will never forget her!