ALCOHOLIC DELIRIUM TREMORS CAN BE FATAL. Withdrawal symptoms usually include confusion and hallucinations which can be controlled with the proper medications. If not treated properly, a patient can die.
The confused patient’s safety was not the only thing Nick was worried about; there were other patients in the unit, suffering from other maladies. Their safety was also questionable due to the unpredictable behavior of the black man.
His mind began to race, trying to come up with a plan to restrain the man. Nick watched as the man jumped up and down on the bed, causing it to rock back and forth from side to side. The man was looking at the floor as if he saw something and started screaming, “Spiders. They’re everywhere.” He took his hands and frantically began to brush his body vigorously to rid himself of what he thought was spiders.
Nick's anxiety increased because his gut feeling told him that the confused man was fixing to bolt for the door to his room. He had to stop him. But how?
The thoughts no more moved through his mind when suddenly the man jumped off the bed and headed for the door. Knowing that there was no lock on the door that would keep the man from exiting the room, Nick called out to no one in particular, “Call security…quick! Tell them to bring some leather restraints.”
There was a fresh open-heart patient in the room next to the black man. Normally, he would have been placed in the cardiac care unit but that unit had been full when he came out of surgery. He was hooked to a cardiac monitor, numerous intravenous pumps, a ventilator and other life-supporting devices. One piece of equipment, a Pleura-Vac system, had twin tubes that were inserted into the patient’s chest and hooked to a suction device at the end of the bed.
Nick’s heart lurched within his chest as he watched the confused man move into the room and toward the tubes. He instinctively knew what was about to happen. He followed him into the room. He was worried that the man was going to pull out the tubes which would endanger the heart patient’s life.
As expected, the black man went straight to the tubes, reached to grab both of them and began to scream, “Snakes. Somebody help me. Snakes are all over this man.”
Awakened by the noise, the heart patient’s eyes grew wide with terror when he saw what was about to happen. The patient was unable to speak because he still had an endotracheal tube in his throat which was hooked to a ventilator. He began to thrash about wildly in his bed. Just as the man closed both hands over the twin tubes, Nick acted instinctively to stop him.
Having taken karate lessons when he was young, he considered this to be one of those times to utilize some of those skills. Running up to the man, he quickly gave him a karate chop with the side of his hand to the man’s massive neck, thinking the man would crumble to the floor. Instead, Nick let out a howl of pain.
Grabbing his wounded hand, he danced around the room in pain for a few seconds, cursing under his breath. This caused the black man to turn and watch Nick with a puzzled look on his face. Before Nick could stop him, the man took his open hand and swatted Nick upside his head, causing him to fly across the room and hit the wall.
Slamming against the wall, with a blow to the head, Nick was momentarily stunned. What happened? What was going on? Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he saw the man reach for the twin tubes again. HE HAD TO STOP THE DELERIOUS MAN.