I arrived at my patient's house and noticed the front door was open and the light was on in the middle of the day. I knocked and walked in and noticed that things were in dissarray. "Helloooo, it's me" I said, "Terry the nurse." My patient had a scowl on his face and wondered what I was doing there. He was mad. I reminded him that I always come on Thursdays to check on him and look at his med minder...and to make sure he was okay. He still wasn't satisfied. We spent time talking about what was bothering him, about his sleeping, his aches and pains and if he was eating. He was doing pretty good but still just mad. Finally, I asked him to get out of his chair, grabbed him by the waist and began to dance with him around his kitchen. He quickly took the lead and was stronger and more relaxed than he was since I walked in the door. "The man is supposed to lead, don't you know that" he told me and laughed. I kissed him on the cheek and escorted him back to his chair. I took his vital signs, listened the his heart and lungs and visited for a little bit longer. Instead of being mad, he began to tell me about his late wife and how they danced all the time and what a good dancer she was.
I got in the car and laughed...wondering what made me get him out of that chair to dance. I turned the radio up to one of my favorite songs and headed to my next patient.
This gentleman has a neurological disease that is slowly robbing him of his movement, language and swallow. I always have to stop a minute and breath before I walk through the door to his room. Today, I was interrupting him and his wife getting ready to go to the movies. "I forgot you were coming today" she said "but I am so glad because you can help me get him ready to go." I told her I would love to because I had only seen him in bed or in the reclining chair. We got him dressed and prepared for the transfer with the lift but then she asked him if he wanted to try to stand up. He slowly replied that he did. Thinking about how she cares for him, I asked her if I could help. She showed me where to put my legs and said, "Daddy, put your arms around Terry and stand up and dance." He stood up and wobbled, but slowly I pulled him closer and we danced into the wheelchair. Before I could gather myself, his wife combed his hair, straightened his clothes and put a little cologne on him. He looked fantastic, very handsome and smelled awesome. I told him he smelled better than my husband and he dances better too! We rolled him to the car and transferred him in, buckled him up and they left for the movies.
He was my last patient of the day...and I was feeling thankful. I though about my paperwork, the charting to be done and the time it would take...and then I thought about how I got to dance.
As hard as it is to do this work, and lately I haven't been as strong as I want to be...I get such special time with people in their homes on their terms. And some days...I even get to dance!
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,