Touch

Grandma and Emme

 

Last week, I took this picture. It was one of those special days that we happened to stop by on a whim. Emme wanted Jimmy John’s and we brought Mom a loaded ham sandwich. She hasn’t been eating as much lately and I have been a little worried. In my last post, I talked about bringing her some of her favorite treats and I have noted she hasn’t been eating them. She was very excited to see the ham sandwich had tomato on it and she ate half of it, along with those salty, crispy chips. It was such a good thing to watch her eat, with somewhat joy.

We walked back to her room and both of them headed for the bed. My Mom and Emme watching a game show and myself just watching them. The picture shows Mom watching the TV and Emme, as normal, snuggling with Grandma. I love how they touch one another. They seem to have a quiet communication with each other that I love to watch. I think this picture captures both of them so well.

I was thinking today of how important touch really is. You all know the statistics of touch, increased blood flow, nerves firing and general feeling of just plain contact. I remember a few months ago, I had a conversation with one of my long term client’s. I have taken care of her for close to nine years. She told me that the only time she gets any kind of physical contact is when I hug her on my nursing visits. That was an eye opening comment for me. By nature, I am not really a hugger. I will hug you if I feel I have that comfort level with you. Some people, I have learned, don’t like to be touched or hugged. I am very careful of that with nursing. You normally can tell what the client needs are and I am mindful of that.

This weekend, I opened up a hospice case for a man who broke his hip and femur. The family decided not to put him through surgery since he would most likely would not have survived. I found him in bed, wearing his WW II hat and in so much pain. He had all of his family around and his sweet wife with him. She was in a memory care unit and she was thinking he was her father. It was a difficult moment. I sat by his bed and he whispered something to me and touched my face. I could not really hear what he said but the daughter behind me, started to cry. She felt that he thought I was his wife. So gentle and sweet. Those are the times that mean so much. I saw him yesterday for my visit and sat with him. His breathing now labored and I’m sure it will be his last day. We talked about his family, his wife and I held his hand. I know he knew both the HHA and I were there. Big band music playing in the back ground. Again, thinking of how important touch is.

This week I hope you can reach out to someone, if only for a quick hug or touch on the arm. It does mean something and I think about Mom, my family, my sweet gentleman and his family and my female client.