Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not always........

but sometimes we get to stop for a few minutes and do the little things that matter. 

We have a few of those frequent flyers.  You know the ones.  You see the name on the census board and immedietly know all about them.  You hardly need to take report.  Everyone knows his name.  Everyone knows her nickname.  During report you tell the off going his medical history instead of the other way around.  You know without being told that she like her ice cream with her nitetime meds (and it must be microwaved for 10 seconds so as not to be rock solid).  You recognize the face of his son and ask what room his father is in.  You hear the voice of her daughter and groan.  There are good and bad repeaters.  The ones that drive you crazy and the ones you fall in love with.  No matter which category, these patients are always special. They get a little special treatment.  A few more seconds of your time.  A little more leniency on meeting their demands. 

We had one of the specials in a little while ago.  She has been going downhill.  She did not look good this time.  Her main problem is COPD.  This to me is one of the worst ways to go.  To live day to day not being able to breathe is a scary thing.  I would rather deal with severe chronic pain than not being able to breathe.  During her most recent stay she had a very bad night and by morning was just miserable.  I was having a halfway decent night on the floor and although the call lights had been ringing all night I managed to get caught up pretty easy.  She asked me to sit and rub her back a little.  Just the gentle rubbing I did was all it took to help calm her.  (the anxiolytic and morphine didn't hurt but the back rub just helped to relax her enough for the drugs to start working.)  I was able to spend about 30 minutes just sitting with her and rubbing her back.  Not a full massage but just running my hand up and down her back while she struggled for breath.  I am so thankful that I was able to bring a small amout of peace to her.  For a little while she wasn't struggling alone anymore. 

This is one of the reasons I became a nurse.  To be there for people at their worst.  I was glad of the reminder, it was just what I needed.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the politics and the routine and the just plain gripin' and seem to forget the real reason we are there. 


  1. Love this post. Just shows what a wonderful nurse you. And I agree... that is the same reason why I became a nurse. Its those little things that really matter to these patients. Your presences, your compassion.

  2. The hardest is when I see someone who really needs this and I only have 5 minutes stolen from the rest of my nite. I was so grateful to be able to give her more, without being distracted by what I wasn't doing.