If we see her increasing her pain by contracting and giving all her attention to complaining, we cannot help her by telling her that that sort of thing is not going to make her well. But we can soothe her in a way that will enable her to see it for herself.
Often the right suggestion, no matter how good it is, will only annoy the patient and send her farther on in the wrong path; but if given in some gentle roundabout way, so that she feels that she has discovered for herself what you have been trying to tell her, it will work wonders toward her recovery.
If you want to care for the sick in a way that will truly help them toward recovery, you must observe and study,—study and observe, and never resent their irritability.
See that they have the right amount of air; that they have the right nourishment at the right intervals. Let them have things their own way, and done in their own way so far as is possible without interfering with what is necessary to their health.
Remember that there are times when it is better to risk deferring recovery a little rather than force upon an invalid what is not wanted, especially when it is evident that resistance will be harmful.
Quiet, cheerfulness, light, air, nourishment, orderly surroundings, and to be let judiciously alone; those are the conditions which the amateur nurse must further, according to her own judgment and, her knowledge of the friend she is nursing.
For this purpose she must, as I have said, study and observe, and observe and study.
I do not mean necessarily to do all this when she is “off duty,” but to so concentrate when she is attending to the wants of her friend that every moment and every thought will be used to the best gain of the patient herself, and not toward our ideas of her best gain.
A little careful effort of this kind will open a new and interesting vista to the nurse as well as the patient.
The Habit of Illness
IT is surprising how many invalids there are who have got well and do not know it! When you feel ill and days drag on with one ill feeling following another, it is not a pleasant thing to be told that you are quite well. Who could be expected to believe it? I should like to know how many men and women there are who will read this article, who are well and do not know it; and how many of such men and women will take the hint I want to give them and turn honestly toward finding themselves out in a way that will enable them to discover and acknowledge the truth?