This morning the last "first job" of the morning is to move the blind Cogburn from his sleeping quarters into his daytime run.
His two hens can negotiate the steep ladder down to the run, he obviously cannot, and so I have to physically lift him from his sleeping quarters, which is at a height of five feet or so from the ground..
From day one I have always talked to him and stroked him to reduce his anxiety of any new procedure and every time I was about to lift him, I say "come on". It is a key phrase that signals "safety" to his peanut sized brain.
Today every time "come on" is uttered Cogburn will launch himself forward into space, confident in the fact that I will "catch him" . His leap of faith is simply a result of reducing his anxiety with continuity.
It's not rocket science.
Today I am reminded of an ex patient of mine called Raymond who I met him around 22 years ago when I started my staffing on the spinal injury re admission ward. Raymond had sustained a complicated spinal injury after a truly horrific accident when he was crushed between the buffers of two trains at work.
He had been in different hospitals for months, and had been transferred to our hospital for treatment for pain issues, skin problems and for rehabilitation.
Raymond clearly needed consistent nursing care and expert psychological support. Back in the early 1990s we had not then employed a clinical psychologist and so much of the hands on care (physical and mental) was left to us, the nurses.
I was allocated to Raymond as his "Primary Nurse" and a slightly dim, cheerful nurse called Jane was chosen as his "associate" and I remember getting together with Jane to work out a way of approaching Raymond's pain issues, which were vast.
Every other day Raymond would have to have various dressings renewed and every other day he would scream the ward down in pain and fear when this procedure was carried out. Our job was to gain Raymond's trust by employing a whole range of interventions to reduce his anxiety and his pain.
When he was "well" Raymond was described as being a bit of a comic and a flirt (this information we gained from his wife) and so I had an idea to employ a slightly unconventional method of anxiety reduction when we turned him
The conversation between Jane (remember his other nurse?) and myself went roughly as follows.
Me: " Before we turn him towards you... you stick your tits out and flirt a bit"
Me: "stick your tits out and give him an eyeful when he turns towards you.. you have a nice cleavage!"
Jane: "you really think so?"
Jane sounding rather pleased: "ok!!"
I am simplifying the interaction somewhat but you will get the "Carry on film and sexist gist" of where I was coming from....
Politically so incorrect, but do you know what? It bloody well worked.
Jane ( who I thought was secretly enjoying her role) stuck out her boobs in front of a slightly impressed Raymond before we started and before he could scream she had rolled his face within a knat's crotchet of her straining and pneumatic bosom..
Of course we employed a huge amount of banter and humour before and after "the deed was done".We also used entinox gas and air and organised a plan with Raymond that we would be performing the dressing turn. all together everytime Jane and I were on duty.
In one fell swoop we ensured consistency, humour, effective pain relief and boobs.
It worked like a charm.
Was it professional? perhaps not.
Was it terribly sexist? --too bloody right it was
Would modern day nursing approve?
Did it work?
Yes it sure did.......
Good news today
Chris is just leaving Melbourne this morning
The Walking Dead returns this evening.....