A Phone Call - page 2

She called my name down the hallway. To me, at the other nurses' station. Why she did that, I don't know. I had a phone next to me. She's the unit secretary. Why doesn't she know my extension? ... Read More

  1. Visit  SaoirseRN} profile page
    10
    That's a beautiful story. I'll share one of my own, about a little thing that ended up meaning a lot to one woman.

    My patient *was* dying. A long, drawn out decline and a little over five months spent in my department on what was her final admission of many.

    When she first came to us, she was mostly bed-bound, but could get up to a commode with minimal assist, all the with the ever-present oxygen mask (mere nasal prongs weren't enough). Eventually, getting up became too much, and after a couple of months she no longer left her bed at all.

    The prospect of a shower was too much for her to bear. Even when she was getting up, even with our cushy shower chair and portable oxygen, that much movement, humidity, and stress would've been too much for her to handle. She knew it and so did we.

    She got bed baths, of course. And new sheets. She never said so, but I knew it bothered her that she hadn't been able to have more than that.

    I wasn't often her primary nurse, but this day I was. It was a rare uneventful shift, likely a weekend. I brought piles of linens -- extra flannels, soaker pads -- shampoo and two full basins and pitchers of warm water.

    I soaked the heck out of that bed, washing her hair and giving her the wettest bed bath I have ever done. Wrapped her in warm flannels, dried the bed and changed the sheets (while she was in it), lotioned her up, combed her hair, and tucked her in.

    It isn't often I have time to do that, and I felt good about it afterward. The best part was her smile, as she told her husband (the lovely man who visited faithfully three times a day all those five months) how nice and relaxed and happy she felt after her bath.

    So there's a little thing, something that was maybe little in theory but big for her. I still remember the smile on her face, through that plastic mask.

    As much as nursing is about skills and knowledge, it's also about these little things. I'd love to hear more stories.
    Sandyclaus, herring_RN, Ruas61, and 7 others like this.
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  3. Visit  WildflowerRN} profile page
    2
    Great story, thanks for posting!
    herring_RN and SarahLeeRN like this.
  4. Visit  pronurse45} profile page
    2
    Such a touching story!!makes me proud and feel great that I am a nurse and that every day, I have the opportunity to touch my patients' life!
    herring_RN and SarahLeeRN like this.
  5. Visit  uRNmyway} profile page
    3
    These are the moments that keep us going when we feel like we could just hang up our stethoscope forever. Heart warming.

    I have one to share too. It was one of my first patient assignments in nursing school, and I will never forget her.

    This happened the week before mother's day. This poor woman had terminal breast cancer, and her doctors had the brilliant idea to do a barium contrast on her to see if there was anything blocking her esophagus. We had spent all morning trying to get her the God-awful barium. She was such a trooper about it too. When they came to get her, I asked my teacher to go with her, and since we still had only one patient, she allowed me to go.
    I sat there with her while they made her wait in her stretcher for over an hour. She told me a little bit about her family, how her daughters lived hours away but were coming over the weekend to see her for Mother's Day, and how much she was looking forward to it. She drifted in and out, and seemed so uncomfortable. I stroked her hair and held her hand the whole time.
    At one point she looked up at me and told me that nurses like me were what helped her be strong and fight. She then fell asleep again. I cried and cried once she closed her eyes.
    When we came back a week later I searched for her frantically to give her a small plushie I had brought in for her for Mother's Day. She unfortunately had passed away that previous Friday, the day before her daughters came. They never got to see her that last time.
    It broke my heart, but still felt amazing to make any kind of difference in her end of life care.
    Sandyclaus, herring_RN, and SarahLeeRN like this.
  6. Visit  chicagonurse89} profile page
    2
    Although there are a lot of experiences in the area that are unpleasant; there are still more which makes us feel great that we are nurses!Their stories may break our heart, but make us whole as a person...it was just proven by the stories you've shared!!
    herring_RN and SarahLeeRN like this.
  7. Visit  08RNGrad} profile page
    2
    Thank you for your heartwarming story. This is the true art of nursing. The way you reassured this poor man, so worried about his sister. Its what its all about. Its easy to forget how vunerable it is to be a patient and a family member of a patient. Lots of time MDs and RNs don't offer much communication, which is scary.
    herring_RN and SarahLeeRN like this.
  8. Visit  deathnurse1} profile page
    3
    I'm a bitter, smart-assed, 20 year ICU casualty. Needed this.
    uRNmyway, herring_RN, and SarahLeeRN like this.
  9. Visit  SantaRN} profile page
    2
    From a patient's family point of view- when my mom was dying of ovarian cancer, the VERY BEST thing for her was bathing! I was her constant "nurse" even though she was getting decent care at the ECF that she stayed at briefly. I knew which time was her last "real" bath- she barely tolerated it at all.....it took her a good 45 minutes to recover from the effort. It was bed baths from that point on... The few times the nurses did what you described- soaking the bed and making a total mess in order to make her happy- she LOVED it. Made me develop a new, undiscovered love for my fellow nurses who choose to do LTC for a living. Those ladies were amazing- I will NEVER downplay the importance of nursing home work again in my life. I had been a bedside ER nurse for many years when my mom got diagnosed with advanced cancer- totally changed me to be sitting at the bedside instead of working at the bedside :-) Those "little things" like reassuring phone calls and bed baths mean so much!
    [COLOR=#003366]
    SaoirseRN 2:27 am by [COLOR=#003366]SaoirseRN A member since Aug '12 - from 'British Columbia, Canada'. SaoirseRN has '6' year(s) of nursing experience. Posts: 178 Likes: 344
    Awards:

    That's a beautiful story. I'll share one of my own, about a little thing that ended up meaning a lot to one
    The prospect of a shower was too much for her to bear. Even when she was getting up, even with our cushy shower chair and portable oxygen, that much movement, humidity, and stress would've been too much for her to handle. She knew it and so did we.

    She got bed baths, of course. And new sheets. She never said so, but I knew it bothered her that she hadn't been able to have more than that.

    I wasn't often her primary nurse, but this day I was. It was a rare uneventful shift, likely a weekend. I brought piles of linens -- extra flannels, soaker pads -- shampoo and two full basins and pitchers of warm water.
    herring_RN and SarahLeeRN like this.
  10. Visit  somenurse} profile page
    1
    LOVED this post, so well written, too, just loved it. I'll probably read the whole thing again, really enjoyed this one!!
    so nice to read an article that isn't some disgruntled nurse complaining about "kissing a$$ at work"
    or complaining about having to be "like a servant" or complaining about "customer service is a drag"
    etc etc etc.


    I so so agree,
    that doing little things CAN mean so much, both for the patient, and for the nurse herself, too!! I so so agree, that actually caring,
    actually finding a way to connect,
    doing little things that go a bit above and beyond,
    makes our jobs easier, and LESS stressful, not more stressful,
    as evidenced by your joyful feeling after you did this. You went above and beyond, and you felt LESS stress, not more stress.

    when we DO care, it is almost a stress-management thing, imo, for the nurse who is able to care or connect, who can carve out the time (it's often only minutes) to do the little things that really DO make both the patients AND the nurse's day go better.
    SarahLeeRN likes this.
  11. Visit  Glycerine82} profile page
    3
    Awww. Just yesterday I had an elderly woman being d/cd home to hospice. She was so nervous because she didn't know what to expect. Thought her hubby wouldn't be able to care for her. I showed him how he could easily change her brief and she can participate in most of it right now. So before she left I gave her a good shower, scrubbed her hair and shampooed it. Then I lotioned her up and blow dried her hair. She was so happy. All I could think was maybe this is the last shower she's going to get. Even though it put me behind it made my heart happy to bring her such joy over such a minor thing. She told me she loved me and a gave her a kiss on the cheek. Makes me sad I know I'll never see her again, but I'm glad she gets to die in the comfort of her own home.

    "No day but today"
    kattycakes, uRNmyway, and SarahLeeRN like this.
  12. Visit  Joe V} profile page
    1
    Great article - thank you for sharing
    SarahLeeRN likes this.
  13. Visit  kattycakes} profile page
    1
    I was at work the other evening when I went in to medicate and chat one of my favorite residents. She told me she was hungry and asked if she could have a sandwich or something. I happened to have brought in a favorite snack of mine, stuffed grape leaves. Remembering that she had lived in Greece I went in and asked if she would like them. Her eyes lit up and she was so excited! Totally made her night and mine!
    SarahLeeRN likes this.
  14. Visit  pc2801} profile page
    1
    Great thread.

    I am a student nurse and last week I had 2 pts that the little things were the most important things in their day. The first pt wanted to wash her hair, but needed help, I was able to help her with that task and I saw a change in the way she carried herself once she had washed her hair. The second pt I had that day caught a chill later in my shift and her husband asked me to help by getting a warmed blanket. We didn't have any on the floor I was on but I was able to help her into bed and put on another blanket. I also noticed that she had a cold beverage in front of her. I offered to get her a hot cup of tea even though I was late and holding the rest of my clinical group up from leaving the floor. I could have asked someone else to do it for the patient, but I went to the kitchen and made her a cup of hot tea because it was such a little gesture that meant so much to that patient and her husband that day.
    SarahLeeRN likes this.

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