Palace of Care – Yella Fella

I’ve never had my fingernails painted before. Today was full of new experiences. I didn’t plan the beauty session well. While my fingernails were drying, I took off my shoes and socks. I then painted my toenails. Two coats were applied as I tried my best to colour within the lines. I hadn’t brought any open-toed footwear and I didn’t want to walk around barefoot in our inpatient unit. I thought up an inelegant solution involving the desk chair on wheels I was seated on. If I planted my feet on the lower supports and then if I shifted my body forward I could slowly propel myself at a top speed of 1 cm per second. This could make for a long morning ward round.

My colleague took matters into his own hands and wheeled me down the corridor to see our patients. I wore my yellow scrubs with a yellow mask. My finger and toenails were painted yellow. If I was a soft drink I would be called Mello Yello. If I was a dog I would respond to Ol’ Yeller. My colleagues had joined in the fun and had painted their fingernails mostly yellow as well. Another colleague had worn yellow shoes. All of us travelling down the corridor briskly reminded me of the Yellow River. Our patient who had barely been conscious the other day expressed concern as to what our spouses would think of our coloured nails.

We toured the ward in a formation reminiscent of a ribbon around an old oak tree. As we reached the end of our jaundiced journey we knocked on the door of our inspirational patient’s room. Her family members were impressed by the shiny brightness of our polished nails. Smiles and laughter made their way through the room. Smartphone cameras clicked and the noise did not disturb the sleep of our patient at all. She was fast asleep and we were not able to wake her. The family took photos to show her later.

I was called back in later in the morning once our patient had woken up. As my toenails had finally dried I walked over myself. I showed off my yellow banana socks as I took them off to reveal my matching toe and fingernails to my patient. She smiled and laughed. Mission Accomplished.

She received some visitors from her workplace later in the day. I was told that her male colleagues had also painted their nails in solidarity with our patient and were going back to the office to solidify the support campaign.

Better stock up on the yellow nail polish, as there is about to be a worldwide shortage.

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