As human beings, there aren't many things in life we need to survive and feel good; food, water, shelter, cleanliness, respect and love. Hopefully these thing are attainable to all of us. This week I got to thinking about a good shower. There is really nothing better then a hot shower to start or wash the day away. Like my mom, I like to take long showers. I do my best thinking in there. No matter how crappy a day is, a shower somehow makes it better..wash away the filth, stress and worries that lay ahead or behind you..it's a renewal. It's something we don't even think about as it is part of our daily routine. However, what if you could no longer do it for yourself? What if all of a sudden we had to depend on others for even such a basic necessity?
One of the responsibilities of the night shift is to bathe the patients. There is really nothing more rewarding then being able to help someone feel comfortable and good about themselves. Even with the patients that are in comas, I have seen changes in their vitals signs that show they are more comfortable after a bath. Being clean and comfortable is a basic human necessity that we take for granted. It can make a world of difference in someone's frame of mind and/or status. I do it every night for my patients and I get responses that include "thank you" "I needed that" "ooo, I'm gonna smell good" "I feel so much better now" "I'm lucky to have you tonight" "Now I can get some sleep" smiles from patients that cannot speak..or just a simple drop in heart rate, temperature, blood pressure says it all for a nurse. It's not always the medical aspect of things that makes a person better, but rather the holistic approach to basic human needs that can make a difference at the end of the day.
So, next time you take that great shower that rejuvenates you and makes you feel good about yourself..be thankful for that simple luxury as not everyone has it. It's really the simple things that matter the most. It's the simple things that we take for granted. It's the simple things that put everything else in perspective.