- Karen Ingalls
- My journey as a writer began as a child, but my first published book came as a result of my ovarian cancer diagnosis. The title is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received three awards. All proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. Follow me on Twitter @KIngallsAuthor www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.
Monday, September 30, 2013
WHEN THE NURSE BECOMES THE PATIENT
In other words, nurses always act with kindness and gentleness; they listen and respond to the patient's needs and wants; they are the intermediary between the doctor and the patient; and they always explain what and why they are performing a certain task.
Most nurses are care-givers.
Most family/friends are care-givers.
One gives care to people with love; we take care of animals or objects; if we take care of people we are not helping them.
I'm a retired registered nurse, who spent a week in the hospital after major surgery for a total hysterectomy and colon resection at which time ovarian cancer was diagnosed. I then had many doctor's appointments, chemotherapy sessions, scans and tests, and telephone calls to or from the nurses. Now I, the nurse, was the patient and what a different role it was for me.
In my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I share about my journey with this lesser known disease; how certain medical professionals helped or hindered me; and the role my caregiver played.
I strongly believe in the power, comfort, and healing of healthy touch. I was sexually abused when a young teenager, but I have turned that event into a positive one. Once I forgave the perpetrator, I was able to be open to any form of touch that was given out of love, and I have counseled other victims of sexual abuse. The following is an example from my book of nurses giving care through healthy touch:
"While in the hospital, I was very aware of how often the nurses placed a hand
on my shoulder, arm, or hand with complete ease while they answered questions,
assessed my pain, or offered suggestions. The staff responded to my request for
any complementary care that might be available. A registered nurse who head of
the alternative care department did some Therapeutic Touch, which works with
energy fields to promote healing."
Here is an occasion that was not a care-giving act by my definition as written in my book:
"Once the MRI was complete, the technician instructed me to get
dressed and then sit in the main waiting room to be sure the films
were okay for the radiologist to read. Then an unusual thing happened
that left a deep impression on me. It is a lesson for those in the healthcare
field to be mindful of what they say and how they say it. After about ten minutes
the same technician came up to me and said, 'You may leave now. Your doctor
will call you with the results.' When I stood up to leave, she gave me a hug and
whispered, 'I'll pray for you.'
I knew her heart was in the right place and her intentions were beautiful, but her
words filled me with a terrible fear. I thought I must surely be on death's doorstep
with my body full of cancer. Did she hug every patient? Did she tell everyone
she would pray for them?"
My husband, Jim, was my primary caregiver. He listened, helped, supported, touched, and was in tune to my needs, except for one time. We both came to understand that he needs to have someone attentive to him most of the time when he is sick. My need is to be left alone at times so I can "go into myself" and pray, think, sort out, or do deep relaxation/meditation.
In summary, it is important for the professional and family caregivers to know and respond to the needs and wants of each person. This can best be accomplished by listening with intent, spending quality time, and getting to know the individual as completely as possible.