We celebrated International Nurses Day last Thursday with a special breakfast with lots of goodies for all. Nurses are a crucial part of any palliative care and hospice team and it was great to celebrate them with some special treats. Individual paper hats were made available each adorned with little red Superman style shields, thanking them for being heroic in the jobs that they do. Special little bags of sweets were prepared and handed out to all of our staff.
There was a buzz of mirth and fun throughout our inpatient unit and this was noticed by the patients and their families too. One couple commented on it being nice to hear raucous laughter happening outside of their room. It was nice to be staying in a healthcare institution where people were enjoying each other’s company at work. This couple had stayed in many different healthcare institutions over the past years and thus spoke from experience.
She said that she couldn’t have handled everything that she had been through if it wasn’t for her husband. He had looked after her well, throughout the many bad times, especially in the past weeks. Some of the episodes she could not remember as she was too unwell with pain. He had been there for her through it all.
“He’s looked after me well, he’s been my best nurse. I couldn’t have done it without him.”
“Do you think he’s a keeper?”
“Yeah I think I’ll keep him on, but he has to behave, and not interrupt me when I’m talking.”
We discussed pain control plans as they were aiming to make it to an important excursion in the following week. Back to the hometown where she had grown up, back to catch up with friends and family. This depended on whether or not we cold control the worsening pain. We talked about hitting the pain hard, to try to squash it down as much as possible, as we wanted her important trip to be successful.
“You might feel lousy for the first couple of days, and you might need to sleep a lot.”
“I haven’t slept well all week, and could use a catch up.”
“Your pain might feel worst to start with but we will treat it aggressively, and will try and bring it down as we want you to have the best shot of making your trip.”
“Okay, sounds good, go for it, see you later.”
A few minutes later there was a special delivery, it wasn’t Santa Claus but the courier knew that he had been a good boy, and had looked after his wife well. A little Super Nurse paper hat was presented with a flourish.
“And since you’ve been such a sweetie, here’s some sweeties for you too.”
The courier exited to the sound of raucous laughter which came from the couple’s room, and he thought, “Maybe we’d better dress everyone up in PPE, as there seems to be another contagion spreading throughout the hospice.”
The sort of pandemic that I’d want to go viral.
Pass it on.