November 11, 2010 Written by Shannon Daubner AWAMC
Elfie was a patient on 7South Telemetry floor after having a stroke. I happened to be working on a third shift and had my designated patients, while the other nurse I was working with had her own. Elfie, however, was not one of mine. Elfie was an elderly woman in a low bed that had on a bed alarm because she was at risk for falls seeing she was very confused. It is strange to look back on it now as to how this beginning scenario could bond two people into such a wonderful friendship.
I was doing my hourly rounds at approximately 02:00 in the a.m. when I arrived to Elfie’s room. She was awake, scared, and did not know where she was. I entered her room and took a knee because she was in a low bed and I didn’t want to stand boomingly over her and frighten her even more. Next I extended my hand and introduced myself. At first she was hesitant to take it, but after she did I felt the muscles in her hand relax and I knew I could connect with her. She was insistent on getting out of bed and leaving the hospital though I knew she wasn’t aware of her condition. So I sat on the floor mat next to her bed and still holding her hand, just talked. She told me about her life in Germany and I was asking her how to say certain words in German. We talked about the war. We talked about country leaders of the 30s and 40s era. I then started reading to her from a magazine that was outside of her room until she fell asleep, which I was very happy about because my backside had also fallen asleep sitting on that little floor mat.
The next evening when I came in I made it a point to visit Elfie and she was much more alert. We talked about the night before and I remember praying with her for the return of her strength. I worked only the weekend program, so I cannot say when she was discharged from the hospital, but I know that within the progressing month Elfie came to the hospital with her friend and brought me in a Kringle as a “Thank You” treat which was shared by the 7th floor. She then asked if she could take a picture with me. I still have one of the copies of this picture on my refrigerator at home.
About three months later she came in again during my shift with her friend and had some medical questions for me about her current condition. She was very thin and she had lost her voice. I instructed her to ask her doctor, but she was too afraid to talk to him. I offered to call him up for her and she was very grateful. I wound up talking to the doctor and making an appointment for Elfie which she did go to. When she came again to visit with me a couple months later she was much healthier looking and had regained her voice, so I was very happy for her.
Since then, Elfie continues to come visit me about every three months to show me how much she has regained her strength. She continues to live independently and mothers several cats at home. She is truly a blessing on the face of this earth and her thankfulness encourages me to continue with the career path I have chosen.