Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Most Frightening.

Nancy at Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life asked the other day what frightens you. I obviously answered snakes and heights. I’ve been thinking about it a good bit, and although Nancy was talking about the little fears we can conquer, I got to thinking about the biggest fear. This is sort of a downer post, so I’m just warning you ahead of time.

In 1972 I worked in a charity hospital. I wanted to go into anesthesia and the fastest way to get there was by going to nursing school. I was working full time and trying to get through school at the same time. A part of each of our days was spent on the wards. Back in the early 70’s, men in nursing school were a rarity, and I found that when I was assigned patients each morning to take care of, I was usually assigned the big heavy people who couldn’t move. It wasn’t easy turning a 250-pound man to change his bed; to wash him, feed him and to take care of all the other stuff associated with a non-responsive patient.

There are many people I remember in those wards. People who I’m sure if they had more money would have gotten better care. But one I remember specifically. One day I was assigned a new patient. He was a man in his late 30’s early 40’s, and he was a CVA (cerebral vascular accident) patient. In other words he had a stroke. When I first saw him he had just come in and his wife and two children were by the bed. He was a nice clean cut looking guy and right off I could tell he was a farmer. His wife and children also looked nice and clean cut and the worry was obviously all over their faces.

I had four hours every day to usually take care of 3 to 4 CVA patients. This was always a total care situation, so my time was limited to say the least. With this patient I could usually spend an hour a day doing the things I had to, but I always felt with each of my patients it just wasn’t enough time. I talked to each of my patients, but with this one I talked a good bit more. I would always say if you understand me blink your eyes, move a finger, toe, just anything to let me know. He never did.

Over the weeks his family stopped coming as much and the regular staff at the hospital left him alone except for checking him from time to time. In the mornings I would find the night shift had done little to nothing during the night for him. I would always have to clean him all up because they usually didn’t even check to see if he had used the bathroom. He started loosing weight and from not being turned regularly he was starting to get decubitus ulcers (bed sores). This kept going on until one day I came in, and he was gone.

I’ve read novels and seen movies about people like this and ever since back in the 70’s the biggest most horrifying fear I have is to have a stroke. To not be about to move, but your mind is still working. To want to scream because this beautiful thing your mind, is now a prison. To be left alone hour after hour staring at the ceiling wondering if my family will come this day, this week or even this month. To probably be hurting from the ulcers on you body, to be hurting from lack of human contact.

I can think of nothing more horrifying than to be a prisoner in your body and to be left alone. When I went in to take care of that one patient, although he was non-responsive, I felt I could see the total consuming fear in his eyes.

This is what frightens me the most.

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