Friday, May 10, 2013

Dear Caregivers

It was a long day's journey into night at a local public hospital the week before the Holidays.

I learned so much about the excellent care and wisdom of the surgeon and the quality of people on the staff, from the nurses to the cafeteria personnel.

These are good words from the waiting room. They can apply to anyone who attempts to offer their care, not just in the recovery room. What kind of letter do you think your care-receiver would write? What would they add or edit? 

Dear Caregivers:

Please excuse my bad behavior! I don't usually act like this, but I'm frightened and feel vulnerable. 

I read your every facial expression as an indicator of my health- or bad news. 

I listen to everything you say, and every exchange you have with staff members. I think everything I hear is about me.

Don't forget about me or leave me alone for too long- I'm scared! I'm not only afraid of what will happen to me, but also what I'll see while I'm here. It's upsetting to me.

I wonder how clean your hands are and whom you last touched, but I won't say anything. I want you to like me and treat me nicely.

My diagnosis may not be life-threatening, but it is a big deal for me. In fact, I will always remember this visit. My family will talk about it for a long time. It will become part of our family history. 

Explain everything in a way that I can understand. Use words I know. I should know what your are saying to me. but sometimes I don't. 

Be kind. I appreciate the fact that you are here when I need you. I just wish you knew me outside the hospital. There are people who love, need, and pray for me. By the way, they are praying for you too.

Your Patient

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