Our nurses wear many hats. We go from performing medical procedures, to being counselors, to preparing a meal for those persons too sick to cook for themselves. One of the most common and important roles we play is that of being teachers. We teach patients and families about their illnesses, diet, proper nutrition, medications, and much more.
Take this story, for example.
I had been working with an elderly woman, to help her get her Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) under control. She was a shy, quiet, soft-spoken, ladylike woman. We had reviewed her diet, discussed the times of day that she ate, in relationship to her bedtime, and we had elevated the head of her bed to assure she was more symptom-free. On this particular day, as I arrived, she greeted me warmly with “Honey, I’m so glad you’re here. I was just reading an article and it told me that my Gastric Reflux was caused by disease-causing orgasms!” I got a puzzled look on my face as I asked her to repeat herself. She said seriously, “That’s right. It is caused by disease-causing orgasms. Here, it’s right in the paper. I’ll show you.”
I reviewed the article and said “Hazel, this says that Gastric Reflux Disease may be caused by disease causing organisms.” I said the last word very slowly. She replied, “That’s what I said - disease causing orgasms.” Then, she caught her mistake. Her hands flew up to her quickly reddening face, and she said “Oh my word! I wish that did cause it! I wouldn’t be complaining!”
We laughed and laughed until our sides ached, and I’ve never thought of Gastric Reflux Disease in quite the same manner since then. ~J.R.