Monday, December 19, 2016

Still more nursing episodes - II

The nurses who come here are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu both of which have hot climates. (It is said that Chennai has 3 climates - hot, hotter and hottest.) They start shivering at a dip in temperature  at a time when I will be sweating. This will put me in a dilemma. I will want to continue putting the fan at full speed or consider switching on the A/c but this would make the nurse uncomfortable.

If I keep sweating, the bedsheets on which I am sleeping will get damp and I am afraid that it could eventually lead to my developing bed sores. I have heard that they are quite painful and this thought prevents me from humoring the nurses.


Sometimes, a physiotherapist who is not familiar with the intricacies of communicating with me will ask me something like, 'In which movie is this song?' and wait. Then the nurse will say' 'How can he tell you the answer? You have to tell the names of various movies and he will blink for the correct answer if he knows it.' A few days later  the same nurse will get frustrated trying to understand something that I had indicated. Finally she will exclaim,  'Why don't you say clearly so that I can understand?' She would seem to have forgotten what she had told the physiotherapist.

Some  nurses will tell guests, 'Even if he has some pain, he will say that he has no pain.' This is not strictly true. My response will depend on who is asking me the question. If it is Jaya, then I will specify where exactly the pain is, its intensity, etc. and discuss how to remedy it. With others, I will generally say that there is no pain. This is because I will not be able to tell them anything about the location or intensity of the pain. This might prompt them to investigate a bit which may make  matters worse.

The nurse would also be prompted to make this observation due to my responses during physiotherapy. Some pain is to be expected during some of the exercises because of the stretching of certain muscles. If such pain is not there, it would mean that the exercise is not being effective. When physiotherapists ask me about pain, they would mean whether I was feeling any pain other than the normal stretch pain in which case they have to find out why the new pain has come. The nurses find it strange that I often say that there I don't feel any pain when it would be obvious from my expressions that there is some pain. I would  actually be indicating to the physiotherapist that I am not feeling any abnormal pain.


Sometimes  a nurse will try to do something that I don't want to be done. For example, she may try to adjust the pillow under my head which would be in the correct position. I will keep blinking several times and also keep nodding my head  to indicate that it is fine. But the nurse will continue to adjust the pillow and keep asking me about other things. Finally I will use a pre-set signal to indicate that she should call Jaya.

When Jaya comes, I will explain to her what the problem was. She will tell the nurse that I was indicating to her that the pillow was in correct position and that she need not do anything. The nurse will say, 'That's all? You should have told me. You could have blinked!' But that is what I had been doing! A strained grimace is the best that I will be able to manage in such circumstances.

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