In what can only be described as a sickening display of pure narcissism, Gertrude Walters, an 82 year-old woman with advanced dementia, has remained oriented only to herself for the third hospital day in a row.
Ms. Walters was sent from her nursing home, where she requires assistance with nearly all of her activities of daily living, to the hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection. Despite stellar care on the part of all her entire medical team, no one has yet to hear so much as a simple ‘thank you’ from the obviously megalomaniacal patient. The octogenarian seems to be completely unconcerned with anything outside the immediate sphere of her own existence. Her medical providers have confirmed that when asked what year it is, who the president is and where she is right now, the elderly woman will simply repeat her own name.
While the medical staff has endeavored to remain professional in the face of such wanton egotism, it is clear that this behavior is starting to take an emotional toll on her caregivers.
“It’s difficult to not to be hurt,” said visibly shaken medicine intern Dr. Robert Briggs. “I have been taking care of her for the past three days, but she every morning she acts like she’s never seen me before.”
However, more seasoned physicians reported that this behavior, while certainly disturbing, is unfortunately common in the hospital setting.
“I’ve seen a number of patients who were literally too self-absorbed to give you time of day, or even the day of the week, or the year!” said the hospitalist Dr. Mark Jeffries. Jeffries noted that this selfish behavior seemed to be especially prevalent in elderly patients, stroke patients and patients who had recently received large doses of Ativan.
“And don’t even get me started on ventilator patients,” added Dr. Jeffries, shaking his head.
At press time, hospital employees were gathered around Ms. Walters’ room watching in disgust as she consumed her third jell-O cup of the day, seemingly oblivious to anyone and anything beyond her own needs and desires.