Anne Marie's Reminder Of "Quiet Time"
Posted by Dinesh Mehta on Mar 24, 2016
I really, really love this passage. It reminded of a very dear patient that I take care of -- who is very dear to my heart.
When I think of solitude, I'm reminded of just how much of a gift it is not only to ourselves but to others as well. I learned this through caring for this pre-teenage boy, a remarkable spirit for whom I've been the primary nurse for almost two months now.
When he first came to us, he had suffered from a very traumatic and inoperable brain tumor which left half of his body paralyzed, unable to speak or breath on his own, and not be able to perform his basic functions like eating or going to the toilet. He's basically bed-ridden right now. But he's full of wit, still very much intact.
His day to day life is just so chaotic. Everybody's coming in and out, the doctors, the nurses, speech therapy, occupational therapy, PT ... everybody, in and out, in and out, in and out. This is his day, everyday.
On one of those days, early on, his parents were called in by a team of doctors. As the doctors surrounded him by his bed, they said, "We'd like to have a meet with the family. Shall we move us outside?" As a result, my patient and I were left there alone. I found myself wanting to fill the silence, because this wasn't a common occurrence. Normally there's just so many things happening.
Because he's unable to speak, I find myself explaining everything I'm going to do. At one point, I just paused, and I'm like, "What else can I do for you right now?" We took his communication board and he was able to slowly type out the words "Quiet time".
Quiet time. I thought to myself, "Of course. Of course you would want a quiet time. Yes."
I called my other nurse friend, I asked her, "Can you hold my phone? I'm going downstairs to the gift shop and get him some eye patches." I ran upstairs and got him his eye patches, turned off the TV, put a note on his door that read: "It's his quiet time now, no staff, nobody to enter."
I just remember the smile on his face when we put this eye patch on and he just laid back and was like "Mmmhh."
Since then, we've had this quiet time twice a day during his routine. Not only that, this is now happening for every kid that we take care of on the floor. Two o'clock we shut the lights off. It's the time for rejuvenation. A time for to ... be in solitude. It's so important. It's such an enormous gift that I've taken for granted.
I'm so glad and so grateful that my young little one has taught me that lesson.