Monday, February 8, 2010


Very often in the intensive care units, the patients wear "Peek-A-Boo" mitts.

These attractive white mitts, made by Posey, are for "...Patients who disrupt medical treatment by pulling at their IV line/catheter or are prone to self-injury..." I have seen how these mitts help patients who, in their sedated and altered mental state, are unable to restrain themselves from automatically pulling out their respirator or IV lines. While they look kind of scary, they are a good thing.

"It's a feature, not a bug," as we used to say in the computer programming business.

Today I met a woman who was very lucid, although she could not talk. The ventilator prevented her from doing so. I'm sure she was sedated, but she had something to ask me. Her mitted hand and arm motions indicated, "can I write something to you?" As I responded with, "you would like to write something?" she pulled off her mitts (note: SHE pulled her mitts off), held my pen and pad of paper and wrote down a question for her nurse. "I will go ask your nurse that question. Be right back."

I found her nurse and asked the question. Then, I realized the seriousness of what was going on. I innocently left the barely sedated patient un-mitted in her room across and down the hall. The nurse told me that the patient is prone to trying to pull out her respirator and that she needs to keep the mitts on so that she can heal. With some amount of terror in my heart (quickly get back! don't let that patient do the pulling on my watch!), I returned to the patient. She was fine. I took a deep breath and explained to the patient that she needed to keep the mitts on and why.

I felt like I was a scolding school teacher. Bleh. She looked at me with puppy dog eyes as I put her mitts back on and explained to her that they were a good thing. The bubble over my head read, "Really, it's a feature, not a bug!" while the bubble over her head read,"Yea, right. Bla bla bla."

I wonder how God puts mitts on me sometimes. Perhaps to keep me from disrupting spiritual treatment by jabbing at my Love lines? Perhaps to keep me from pulling out my Respirator - that enlivening thing that keeps me breathing. Perhaps to keep me safe when I am innocently prone to self-harm. Maybe this is how I am saved, today.

Restore us, O God of hosts; show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved. Ps 80:18.

What mitts are you wearing, in this moment?


  1. Good post and interpretation. Personally, I think Robin serves as your mitts.

  2. I think my therapist, my consequences, my schedule, and the loving boundaries and promptings of my yaars in IPR and supervision are maybe my mitts right now. Not sure I can blame God for any of them. So glad you blog and stir up my thoughts.