As I opened the door, the room’s light were turned off. I felt quietness…I saw him awake so I switched on one light and started assessing him from head to toe. It was endorsed that he is quadriplegic and can’t communicate. I tried to talk to him, asked him if he feels pain. He replied back uttering the simplest word in arabic which means “none”. I smiled at him, happy that he can talk. I asked him to raise his hands, but he couldn’t, then he started raising his left hand…trying to point at something. I could hardly understand him, but I know how frustrating to be confined in bed and no one can understand what message you are trying to convey. I stayed with him for a while, trying to figure out what he really needs. Then finally I realized that he wants his caregiver. I heard him mentioned his name clearly. When his caregiver came, I told him to spend some time to talk to the patient….. but he left right away. Friends and relatives came to visit him. There was one thing I noticed from them—they don’t talk to the patient. He was helpless in bed, unable to do his ADL’s, but he’s not brain dead. He’s still a person who needs to be treated like a normal one. I admire him for his strength. He survived the accident and it has been a year that he has been immobile.
The next day, he was again my patient. I had no regrets taking care of him, but there were times that my heart seemed to be carried away. He talks whenever I am with him, although it’s really not that much clear.
Some may think that being paralyzed may be the end of life. But for this 21-year old boy, it’s just another chapter of his life. The pain of helplessness and a feeling of being a burden to the family can shudder any strong heart. But just a determination to live with a smile till the last breath can change several lives. A step to think ‘I can’ will make them fly with their arms wide open on the cloudy sky of laughter and peace.
Submitted by Ghie on the Filipino Nurses’ blog.
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