Monday, March 14, 2011

A little phone can go a long way

I know I take the phone for granted. I grew up with a phone in my house and now in my purse. You use it daily, all day long. But what if we didn't have phones. I mean how different would life be?
I took care of the sweetest little man this week at work. He has this smile that lights up the room and is just a kind man in general. He has been in my unit for almost a week because after his open heart surgery he has a stroke and has really been having a difficult time moving and speaking.

I took care of him for 3 days, 12 hours every day......this week. So I got to know him intimately and was there for his ups and downs of frustration that can come with the evil stroke symptoms. Frustration to not be able to do what you want when you want, frustration to have to depend on someone (especially someone you just met 10 hours ago...and it's a 30 year old nurse usually with too much coffee on board), and frustration that you are in this situation at all and your life has changed.

Sometimes you can't do or say anything to make it easier. Sometimes people get so upset they shut down. So on the third afternoon of caring for him, he was sick of me and sick of his situation to say the least. UNDERSTANDABLY. His wife of 52 years visited often as well as one of his 4 children. His other 3 had come and gone, living far away. The wife was worried since he was becoming more and more frustrated.

So things happen for a reason. And when his son called from LA for an update I thought about how he couldn't really talk on the phone with him due to his stoke. Communicating was difficult and very frustrating for him. Yes and No and a smile was about all he had been able to do.
But I thought.... he could listen:) So I prepped the son. I told him about his dad's frustrations for the day and how seemed depressed this afternoon to me. How he seemed to be lying in his bed frustrated and I was unable to really comfort him. I thought if he could just talk to him and tell him about his day or maybe a happy story that they shared it might lighten the mood. Of course he couldn't answer back but I would hold the phone for him to his ear.

So for 10mins I held this little gift, a phone to his ear. I watched as he teared up and giggled as his son talked and talked. I have no idea what they talked about but the phone was such a mental lifesaver for my sweet patient. It even helped his communication as he casually slipped a couple "uh-huhs" and "very well" into the conversation (since without stress or pressure of trying to communicate is does seem to come easier when you have a stroke).

At the end of the phone call my patient was much happier and seemed relieved. Like this stoke thing was going to be just a bump in the rode (which it will be recoverable), and he was rejuvenated to work hard at rehab again after speaking with his son on the phone.

I just love the phone more today then I think I ever have in my life. So call someone today and appreciate that you CAN;) Imagine if you couldn't.....


  1. We need more caring people like you. Thank you so much!

  2. Aw Lindsey, you made me cry.......that was a very special thing you did, Sweet girl....:)

  3. Okay, I am crying like a baby here after reading your post. You are an incredible nurse and an even MORE incredible human being.
    Your mama


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