Monday, November 18, 2013

Try A Little Tenderness

I have decided to participate in the National Blog Post Month for November.  That means I am going to be posting each day in November.

November 18, 2013 
A Bright Blue Sunny Day 
Photo taken at 2:30 this afternoon

Rising Moon Through The Pines
Temperature at 11:00 p.m.
Harvest Moon at 11:00 p.m.

 Under The Full Moon

My brother’s health continues to decline.  He is now under the care of hospice.  
The last time I visited with him was one of the most upsetting and emotional moments of my life.  
This was about two weeks ago.  He had been brought back to the hospital yet once again and was being cared for in the ICU. 
On our way to the hospital I remembered that he would be breathing with the help of a respirator.  But,  I was not prepared for the condition he was in.  There were tubes, wires and IV’s.  
When we walked into the room his eyes were open, however he appeared to be in an awake trance.  He just stared straight ahead.  I called his name and asked him to blink if he knew that I was there.  And he did.  
The nurse came in shortly after I got there.  She began the complex routine of the maintenance of his care.  I instinctively knew that if I were in that condition, I would want my privacy.   I would also definitely not want my brother to be in the room while the nurse attended to the most personal of my care.   
So, even though the nurse insisted that it would not be a problem if I stayed in the room, I knew that my brother would probably be more comfortable if I stepped out of the room until the nurse was finished. 
As I waited out in the hallway, I thought about the nurse’s casual attitude.   I had to remind myself that this was her job, a job that she does day in and day out and one that she is specially trained for.  
But I wondered if part of a medical worker’s curriculum should be the valuable lessons of  sensitivity regarding the dignity of the patient and awareness of the feelings of the family.  I also believe that these lessons should be continually reinforced.
While I understand that it would be impossible for a professional caregiver to continue to treat their patients if they became emotional about every patient, I also believe that it would add an important layer to the level of care they administer if they kept in mind that  the person helplessly lying in that hospital bed is someone's  husband, or brother or son and most importantly a treasured loved one.  
Tonight, my visit with my brother was not nearly as upsetting as that day a few weeks ago.     When I walked into the room I saw my brother, his eyes closed, comfortably sleeping.  There were no tubes, wires or machines. He was being treated with comfort medicines. 
Except for the sound of his breathing, the room was quiet and he seemed peaceful.   
When I called his name,  he opened his eyes for a brief second and I knew that he knew I was there.  

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