In the darkness we wait.

I have a patient

Who cannot read

or write.

 

I have not yet

Determined the reasons why;

Whether

circumstance

situation

or something

else.

 

Nevertheless,

He struggles with many

activities

that you or I

would find

Straightforward.

 

When I was explaining to him

the other

day

About the dosing of

Paracetamol,

I realised

the usual

words wouldn’t work.

 

You see,

he

doubts words.

He lives in uncertainty.

 

When something is written down,

It becomes concrete.

Solid

Everlasting.

 

You can turn your back

And it will still be there.

 

Without

Writing

Nothing is permanent.

 

Everything passes

And is gone

The moment your attention has shifted.

 

Eventually,

We worked out that he could both

Tell the time

and

Use

A simple system of lines to count.

 

Hence,

‘I’

Was one

And

‘II’

Two

And so on.

 

Thus,

We had II tablets to be taken IIII times a day.

 

Yet,

How would he

Keep track of the times?

 

When to

Stagger the

Dosing?

When to jot a ‘I’?

 

Then I drew clock faces

With the relevant

Hour-times

Coinciding with doses.

 

Hence,

II at 8 o’clock

And

II at 12

And so on.

Here is an illustration:

clock.jpeg

You see.

 

My point is,

I never would have conceived this in the hospital;

 

Had I not been in his living-room

Without all the paraphernalia

Of 21st century healthcare

Intruding,

We’d never have

Reached

These brass-tacks.

 

We are working on a false assumption

That

People are

same as

we see

on wards

and clinics

as

we see at home.

 

They are not.

 

They are artificial

Transformations.

 

They are idealised.

 

We need to undo our approach

And relearn

What it is to

To investigate

Analyse

And

Treat.

clock.jpeg

6 Comments

  1. Indeed the conventional approach in western medicine needs some major changes. You’re doing that with great effectiveness, the problem will be how many others will see this too and change their approach. A difficult thing with the linear sequential thinking that is so inherent in the field on science and engineering.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really loved that, Rod. Very moving. And point clearly underlined. Perhaps, in hospital, the course of action would have been to ask the nursing staff to administer the drugs at the appropriate time. By visiting patients in the community, in their own homes, they become a partner in the treatment – they are empowered with the task of making themselves better. Could it be that this element is totally missing in hospital?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree, meet the person where they are ,who the are, in their individual circumstances . Very inventive and effective solution for this person!
    School education during and after the war probably patchy, plus missing one day in the curriculum regimen may mean missing a vital skill . Older pupils may leave early to work to support the family. Younger pupils may be ‘ kept back’ to help Mum or Dad.
    Measurements and targets in hospital based on what can be counted ( wellbeing scale exists ? quali scale still? )?

    Liked by 1 person

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