Whenever I work in Preop Holding, something weird or confusing seems to happen. Last week I had a patient coming from our ER. The patient was a 4 year old boy who had stuck a tiny Lego bit up his nose. The ER doctor and the ENT on call had been unable to retrieve the errant Lego in the ER, so surgery was scheduled for the little guy. Fishing out foreign bodies from various bodily orifices is a pretty common activity in the surgical suite, so as is the routine I called the child's ER nurse for a quick report. The nurse was obviously an intelligent woman, giving me an excellent detailed report. Now I admit I am biased towards ER nurses. They do it all, do it fast, and often do not get the repect they deserve. I started out in the ER and still see pretty much everything through that perspective. But this nurse went off on a lengthy tangent that freaked me out a little bit. She started talking for a while about how the father of the child was a militant "foreign" Muslim who hated white women and was disrespectful to the female nurses. "You know how they are." she said about male followers of Islam.
It was an unusual way to end the report, so I figured this guy must be a real terror. I immediately pictured a bearded man screaming in a foreign language at the staff. Imagine my surprise when the man in question turned out to be a pretty ordinary looking guy who spoke English well. The little boy was an absolute cutie pie. As I was getting him and his mountain of paperwork ready, I kept waiting for the dreaded misogynistic outburst from the Dad. I waited and waited. I am half Latina, with my Mom's pale Irish skin and my Dad's crazy frizzy/curly hair. So, maybe I did not count as an actual white woman. However, my coworker is a 100% lily white, sweet as pie platinum blonde Southern girl, so maybe he would direct his ire at her. Nope. He was complimentary and gracious to her as well. As I escorted him to the wating room, he thanked me and told me I had a nice personality. Religion was not mentioned by anyone at anytime. I really couldn't figure it out. I simply treated him as I would want to be treated if I brought in my child with a Lego up his little nose. Had the guy undergone a total personality change between the ER and Preop Holding? Had the otherwise smart ER nurse misinterpreted his behavior? I didn't know what was going on. It was weird.