“It will be okay,” my husband reassured…”Try to get some sleep. It’s 2 a.m. now,” he added as he wrapped his arm around me and continued to comfort me.
Few hours before, at work, I dealt with an inmate who had a hypertensive crisis. She was so upset that she hasn’t been getting her medications right away after being transferred from another prison to ours. Her agitated state was not helping her BP level. She must know it as she stated that “I could feel my BP so high now,” as she paired it with buckets of tears, complaining of worsening headache from morning until late evening that she was in front of me. Her tears were true but her complaint was not. She was started with hypertension medications as soon as she got to our facility. The Psych meds she needed was usually not given right away as the inmates needed to wait until the Psych doctor could evaluate them. Unfortunately, they were not patient enough to wait for their appointments. I was concerned about her very high BP so I immediately consulted the on-call doctor. He decided to just give medications to lower the BP and relieve her headache but in any case of emergency, she would be transported to ER.
After downing 4 total numbers of pills, she sat in the waiting area as I instructed her that I would need to recheck her BP an hour later. 30 minutes prior to that recheck, another inmate had called us and said that the lady didn’t look good. The Charge Nurse ran toward her as I started calling her name. She was not responding and seemed to be shaking uncontrollably as we noticed the right side of her face slightly drooping (to what appeared as stroke at that time). We summoned for an ambulance right away as I gave her oxygen and the other nurse tried to start an IV but she was so strong and fought against her hold and did not want to have an IV started. She just kept making sounds and nodded her head “No!”. There were 3 of the staff but she was strong enough that no one was able to restrain her even as I joined in. She used her legs to move her chair that I gave the Charge Nurse a look and she read my mind that I doubted the existence of her stroke. She replied with a silent stare as if she doubted my assessment in return that I was wrong as her face was slightly droopy and that she was not able to talk. To make it short, I called the doctor I spoke with who gave the medications and reported to him that the inmate was on her way because there might be a possibility that she was having a stroke. And that the BP didn’t go lower as she remained upset and agitated. It was expected that she would be admitted but as I went home, my heart was heavy. The difficulty of being a nurse set in again as many lives come and go on our hands that depended on our ability to respond and have the right judgments for each critical situation. For each emergency. For every life. I prayed for that inmate. She was a person. Loved by God the way He loved me. The way He loved everyone. I prayed that nothing would happen to her but if it was true what I sensed about her faking that emergency, I asked that He would reveal it in due time.
On Sunday, as I went back to work, that was the first thing I asked was about that lady. The Charge Nurse had no new info except she was still at the hospital. It was a very busy shift that day. Until....
After my coveted dinner break, I saw the Deputy wheeling in a familiar face. It was her. She went AMA (Against Medical Advice). She was refusing all the treatments, yelling at us the whole time and when the Charge Nurse didn’t grant her the wheelchair, she got upset and immediately got up and like a little child with a tantrum, remained one for a few hours. Except she was not winning in getting her demands. She had no choice but to wait. And like a little child be given the “time out” to make her put her behavior on a scale for her to weigh in on the consequences of her own choice. I was thankful to God in the back of my mind. As the other nurse arrived who worked with me that night pointed her finger at me and quietly whispered so as not to make her hear, “You…Rcubes…” “You doubted her…Hmmm…” She was upset about the whole drama of her wasting our time to save her on what appeared as a life threatening situation. She was good. After all, she was imprisoned for "faking a Work Comp. Claim."
The inmate got tired…waiting…standing firm on her own decision to resist the authority was poor on her part. Her disrespectful attitude would not get her anywhere. She sensed that. She remained sitting on the cold, hard chair for many hours. Upsetting no one but only herself. She broke down…And with tears came the words, “I’m sorry.” That would not be the last tears she would be shedding. We believed she would be more upset. Because on top of the charge she was incarcerated for, another one would be added..."For faking an emergency."