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Sunday, November 11, 2007

dignity

I've just arrived home from work after a busy late shift. Vomiting and diarrhoea and tracheostomies... you probably don't want to know, so I'll spare you the details. Suffice to say I'm glad to be home.

Oh, OK, I well tell you a little about it... the truth is, sometimes I struggle with nursing tasks. For instance yesterday I was emptying some most unpleasant fluid from a drainage bag attached to a patient. The smell was getting up my nose, and I was doing my best not to poke a face. I always remember at University, reading how to school your features in front of a patient so that no matter what you see or smell you don't allow them to see how repulsed you really are. For them to see your repulsion would be devastating. You should treat them with dignity and respect and not make them feel any worse than they already do about the sights and smells they produce.

It's nice in theory, and a lot of the time I manage to achieve it. Yesterday I did not. Not only did I screw up my face, I ended up dry retching right there at the patient's bedside. And the patient's wife saw me and said 'You have to do some terrible things don't you?' I felt bad and exited the room with the smelly fluid as quickly as possible. Unfortunately in bed last night I could still smell it - I'm sure smells stick to nose hairs!

Anyway, enough grossing each other out... I want to write about dignity. In the midst of all this grossness I work hard to treat patients with dignity and respect. I catch them in the most unflattering poses and my attitudes, words and actions can help them respect themselves despite the horrible things their bodies are doing. It's a worthy goal, treating patients with dignity, if not always quite achievable.

Even outside of nursing I'm finding dignity a more and more important trait at present. Frank and I are going through the mill at church (more Frank than me). It isn't pleasant and we don't like it. We put a lot of time and energy into that place and (even though I know we do it for God) there is precious little positive feedback, appreciation or encouragement. My natural response is to swear (sorry Mum), stomp around a bit and threaten to leave. I do this in private and once the angst is out of my system I become more rational and respond appropriately in public!

But how should we respond at the moment? What is the right thing to do?

We're not sure. But the one word that keeps running through my head is 'dignity'. Act with dignity. Respond with poise and self respect. Don't give in to temper tantrums and ineffectual behaviours. Think, pray, guard the tongue, value others. And hopefully God will show us the way through.

Ultimately when it all boils down, nursing and church membership have a lot in common, no? Responding to crap with dignity?! I shall endeavour to do my best with both!

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2 Comments:

At 2:10 pm, November 12, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

"Ultimately when it all boils down, nursing and church membership have a lot in common, no? Responding to crap with dignity?! I shall endeavour to do my best with both!"
Love it - you have a great way of putting things! :) Having a poor sense of smell was always one of my strong points when it came to nursing!
On a serious note though, I'm terribly sorry for the negative time you've been having. Its such a shame that "Church" can be so different to how the Body of Christ really should act and respond. I'm continuing to pray for you both as you work out what happens from here.

 
At 6:10 am, November 15, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

Good analogy and good plan. :o)

 

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