Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Nos Da

 

One of the oldest rules in nursing is the one about self disclosure.
A Professional distance must be kept at all times.

I generally subscribe to this notion.
But not always.
Not quite and I will tell you why.

Recently I had a patient who had been admitted for symptom control .
Often these patients need a short sharp bout of medical and nursing care to alleviate problems before going home again.
They are still dying, but the end is not quite in full sight.

I nursed my patient on consecutive nights and so we quite quickly developed a rapport and an understanding how things needed to be done.
I am an efficient nurse who doesn’t fanny arse around and she appreciated this. 
In between turns and medications and dressings she asked me direct questions about my life and I got the impression she wasn’t being nosey, she was just being interested , interested in something that wasn’t her life of carers and of cancer and of isolation and of dying.

She fed on the nuggets of a life outside hers with a sort of hunger

She had little experience of gay marriage and she dug deep and quickly into my divorce and my thoughts of being single again, of adoption and gay rights but when the work was done she would settle quickly under her fleece blankets , close her eyes and say  “ Nos da” ( Welsh for Goodnight) until I saw her again in the morning.

I worked a lot of nights with her 

The day of her discharge eventually came and that morning, around 6 am I turned her and made her comfortable before I went off duty.
It was still dark outside, but you could just see the ghostly shapes of the Welsh goats as they pastured on the side of the Orme from her room window.

Just before I left the room she said quietly“ I’ve enjoyed our chats..... I won’t see you again will I?”

Probably Not” I said as gently as I could, a little burst of sadness in the air

“ Nos da” she said carefully
Nos da” I repeated 

And I silently closed the door to finish my rounds.....

62 comments:

  1. Like your friend visiting the other day; sometimes a little bit of real contact counts for so much. You just allowed yourself bend your rules a bit when the occasion is right, to be properly human...your patient needed your chats as much as the medication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She needed the information and the personal aspect of another’s life

      Delete
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      Delete
  2. I think your companions need to watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhg7Xm4FXAY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure what your point is? Funny ( and surreal) as the video is

      Delete
  3. A few nice chats are all part of good nursing surely. It wouldn't have been very nice if you had just cut her off when she wanted to chat.

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    Replies
    1. Of course not, and my point was that she had a thirst for information.a need for it outside the confines of illness and circumstance ...my disclosure was therapeutic

      Delete
  4. Truly beautiful moments. "She fed on the nuggets of life outside hers with a sort of hunger." - masterful. Very well-written, dear. Good for you. Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. There was a need for it......that was the point of the blog....a vicarious please of sorts

      Delete
  5. You may be tired of hearing this, John, but you and others in your field are 'special human beings' and our society could not and should not exist without you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have worked with many nurses who through their own protection( and professionalism) who keep interactions strictly one sided.I get that and that’s works , but in this case and many others there has to be a dialogue

      Delete
  6. In the end, it seems to me that people crave human contact. Even if, all their lives, they've been standoffish. That final taking in of the life around them knowing full well that they will be saying goodbye to it shortly is always touching to me.

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  7. Anonymous2:36 pm

    You gave her visits to a world without imminent death and what precedes it,each one a reprieve from her now too harsh world ...hospice done well -Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And perhaps not spoken about , within nursing circles enough eh?

      Delete
  8. you gave her a view into a world of which she knows nothing. and there's nothing wrong with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being interested in others takes your mind off yourself that’s what I think...it a mental mechanism I use too

      Delete
  9. No one can tell a moving story quite like you, John. Beautiful and sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank u Debra ....perhaps I just notice things

      Delete
  10. You're a writer with a deep soul.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You imbue the art and science of nursing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just goes to show, you made the right decision to write a book.

    How’s the Chess Set planning coming along?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Went to pottery yesterday ...started the puffin pawns

      Delete
  13. To be interested in what makes other people tick is a gift - may we all have it until the end as she did.

    ReplyDelete
  14. For you to be able to give her those small bits of your life in your words was more powerful than almost any medication she could be given.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The subject needs opening up methinks x

      Delete
  15. Beautiful. And beautifully written. A chapter for your book perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Barbara Anne5:57 pm

    Oh, how wonderfully sweet, heartwarming, and poignant. You're a kind man and sensitive nurse to be willing and able to share yourself with this special patient. May she have a comfortable and peaceful end.

    Decades ago, a man who had had a massive heart attack was brought into the ER where I was a nurse. As long as we were doing CPR, he was awake and could talk but when the CPR was stopped, he was gone. It was decided that his family should come in while we were doing CPR to say their good-byes and he could respond. What a heartbreaking scene. The family later wrote a letter thanking us for letting them talk to him one more time and say their farewells. Nos da.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my
      I have heard similar stories but have never witnessed it myself.
      I hope you nurses had supervision afterwards

      Delete
  17. Touching, thank you for sharing, with her, and with us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. There's a book to be made of your stories, John.

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  19. A little humanity never hurts for carer or patient. It is a gift to be able to recognize what really needs to be done for each patient. You are a true Nurse.

    ReplyDelete
  20. what a wonderful story to read on thanksgiving eve. i'm sure she was thankful for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice timing jaz
      Happy thanksgiving to those who celebrate it xxx

      Delete
  21. A very special gift to acknowledge when sharing oneself with another is needed. I think Hospice nursing should have it's own code of practice with regards to patient interaction. After all the patient is generally coming to the end of their life and any comfort given no matter the way is very welcome.

    Thanks for the story it was very poignant.

    Jo in Auckland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After I left the room
      I walked up to my fellow nurse on duty and suddenly wanted and needed a hug
      Covid
      I had to be content with a smile

      Delete
  22. Touching story, I think you were the tonic that your patient needed you treated her as someone who was still very much alive, someone to connect with and enjoy a conversation, better than medicine I reckon.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My father was in a transplant ward for over 6 months. I think every nurse there broke that rule, and I remember them all with indescribable gratitude.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It's the ones whom share that are able to reach us in our time of need.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous11:11 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your chat and disclosure was a kindness this patient needed. You have great insight and helped her rest easy in her time of transition.

    ReplyDelete
  27. No doubt her memory of you is much as yours is of her. Again; well done John. Nos da.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I remember the night in the hospital that I was waiting for my mother to die. The night nurse going off shift just quietly gave me a hug. It still brings tears thinking about it twenty years later.

    ReplyDelete
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  30. That made me cry, so wonderful. Nursing is all about giving the patient the care they need, hers was as much learning about someone as it was medication and physical help. Xx

    ReplyDelete
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