Monday, December 4, 2006

What I learned in rehab nursing, pt 2

I do have a few favorite ministories from this year. Things I learned by doing something good:

Healing has to be in your head first
We all know this. There are people out there (and some of them are patients, and some are friends, some are family) who love their diseases. Most people just need the unyielding not-up-for-discussion nudge from their rehab nurse.

I had a patient with pancreatitis who hadn't been up OOB in 6 months. "Let's get you walking up to the bed here." "But I haven't stood in 6 months." "That's okay, B (my fabulous CNA) and I are here to support you. Just put your hands and feet where I tell you to, and do the best you can." Leaving no time to argue, B and I get her up and supported, she walks to the bed. B and I get her tucked in with teamwork that shows this is No Big Deal and we have done this A Million Times Before. We make sure patient's comfortable, is properly fluffed, and I gather up my clipboard to go see my next victim. I'm about to say Can I Get You Anything Else Right Now, and she's staring off into space.

"What is it?" I ask.
"That was the first five steps I've taken in six months."
I grin evilly. "I know it was."
She focuses for a moment. I'm still grinning as I turn and airily say, "Bang on the call light when you need me."
I close the door behind me and she's still staring into space, only with the beginnings of a cockeyed smile on her face.

She walked home (with a walker.) Before she left, she knitted hats for me and for B. Knitting was part of her personal mission to get her fine motor control back. My hat is peach and pink and has a fuzzy on top. She was truly one of my favorite people this year.

Good pain control works wonders
I had a middle-aged man who'd had several back surgeries tell me how it's so hard to get up and move because he hurts so much. So I woke him up through the night to give scheduled pain meds. At 0600, this patient got out of bed, walked himself to our unit shower, dress himself, walked 600 FEET to the next unit which has the good coffee machine and brought back cups of coffee for all three of us NOC shifters.

I certainly didn't always do the right thing this year. I'll tell those stories, too. But on these two, I did something right.


Cyndy said...

This is what quality care is all about' finding solutions.
I love the way you 'fluff' your patients! I don't think you should tell people that you are a 'professional fluffer' ;)

JustCallMeJo said...

True, Cyndy.

To say that you're a fluffer of geriatric patients just sounds wrong entirely.