Last week I was paged by one of my patients.

“Nurse! I need help!”

“What’s up Mickey? What can I do for you?” The man was post-op day 2 for a left AKA (above the knee amputation), so I figured he needed some help with his crutches and went into his room.

“Hand me that marker.”

“What marker?”

“That whiteboard marker!”

“Mickey, why do you need a marker? If there’s something you want to change [on the in-room patient note board], I can do that for you.”

He struggled up onto his crutches and reached out his hand. “Just give me that damned marker!”

I handed him the marker, and he put it between his teeth [so much for getting it back]. Then he turned on his crutches and began to thump out into the hall.

“Mickey! Where are we going?”

He stopped outside his door and turned around. With his fist, he erased his name from the name board outside his room, almost falling in the process. He then grabbed the marker from between his teeth.

“Lost my leg, so now I gotta change my name.” On the now-blank name board he printed in large letters “ILENE.”

I should have seen that coming from a mile away.

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