Across the hall of a certain government hospital, on the pediatric wing, I heard someone harshly vomiting with cough.
You could tell like it was in projectile motion. It was not music to my ears; it was dreadful. It was so loud that you could hear it from the other room, or at the end of the hall way. I felt sorry for other patients about to be awakened by it. I started wishing it was not my patient assigned to me yesterday. I prayed that it was not her as this would only make her condition worse. She was a slim, 16 year old teenage girl, diagnosed with Dengue Hemorrhagic II. My co student nurses were smiling at me. They knew from the start that always, if not most of the time, I get the patients who need more care than the rest.
With chin up high, and a beaming smile on my face, I entered the Miscellaneous room, greeting each patient a lovely afternoon. The small room was filled with numerous patients diagnosed with varying stages of dengue. I walked towards my patient. She was restless, weak, and with a basin on her side half filled with sputum. I tried to hide my reaction rather putting up a disgusted face. Instead, I greeted her and her brother, asking how she felt. She answered me with another harsh spit. Instantly, I picked up the basin and placed it near her lips. Then, I did my assessment on her, checked the IV rates, and so on. She was disoriented since she was admitted and could not talk to me straightly. She appeared to be a mentally ill patient but was not. Her body odor suddenly filled my nose. It seemed that she had not changed her clothes since yesterday. She had low blood pressure, increased respirations, abdominal pain, and an axillary temperature of 40.1°C. I was alarmed. I informed the nursing station about her temperature and her abdominal pain. As I returned, I started right away my nursing care which included tepid sponge bath, increased fluid intake, and constant monitoring of the vital signs.
Her gay brother, with a piece of paper on hand, suddenly walked out of the room. I was about to instruct him to do the sponge bath. I was reluctant to do it myself which is quite unlike me. Yet, I prepared the basin with lukewarm water and a small towel. I stopped breathing for a while just to block the aroma of her body odor. I was unwilling to do the sponge bath when her companion could do it for her. I could have waited for her brother to come back. I did not. As a future nurse, I knew it was my job to carry out all nursing interventions. She may have convulsions anytime soon if I did not start immediately. I looked at her face; flushed and uneasy. My thoughts wandered and I asked myself, "what if this girl was my own mother"? My mother, who needs most the attention and care than I can willingly render, but I cannot because she was living miles away. She was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer with a stage that she will not tell.
I wanted to cry at that moment but I fought back the tears. There was nothing I could do now. I looked at her again and imagined what if it was my mother lying at that same bed. What would I do? I bathed her gently starting from the forehead to the toes giving special emphasis on the armpits and groin area to promote convection by cooling her body. I did it three times while at the same time rushing to her left side ready with the basin when she was about to vomit every now and then. At some point, she held my arm and said, “Don’t leave me”. I was startled. “I’ll just be here until your brother gets back”, I replied. She said it while looking straight at me. She was talking normal for once and returned to her previous state after that. Her fever abated after an IV push of penicillin by the RN. Later that night, I was also able to change her clothes with the help of her mother. She smelled fresh again.
After that day, I realized that I was able to render holistic care to my patient. I would not be able to if I had not had thoughts of my own mother. I have learned that I can render nursing care if I treat my patients like I would do to my own mother. It can be anyone such as your father, brother, sister, or your loved ones. It is a strategy that hinders all judgments and biases.
From that time own, I did what I needed to do for every patient without any hesitations.Last edit by sirI on Dec 30, '07
gemini_star has '2' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Oncology, Medical'. From 'Melbourne, Victoria, AU'; Joined May '06; Posts: 422; Likes: 124. You can follow gemini_star on My Website