Usually in my night to night work, it's rare that I have the time to do something that goes above and beyond. I try to make an extra effort as I'm medicating, or changing a dressing, or taking someone to the bathroom. I try to engage, have a little chat about something other than being in the hospital. Or just take the time to encourage a patient. In this day and age, it seems, the big wigs just continue to add things to my list of to-do. Say this. Address that. Make sure you say "side effect."
But occasionally, that one moment I have for a patient can make all the difference for me, and hopefully for them. On this occasion I had a patient back in our lock-down room. He had been a bit ornery and was frequently having visits from security. He wasn't sleeping. I kept trying to make him comfortable. Find something good on TV. With all the time I was spending in his room, I started to notice he was looking a little worse for wear. We hadn't been able to shower him in a few days, and his whiskers were definitely in need of a trim. So I got the old razor, shaving cream, and set to work.
I think I caused him more pain than I wanted, but he was a good sport. Let me just tell you, Bic single blade razors can only do so much. It pulled quite a bit, and he would say, "Oh, easy." To which I would apologize, but keep going. It needed to get done. He lay back, rested his eyes. This was the most calm I'd seem him since he'd been admitted. Trying to get him to move his lips and even out some of his wrinkles was a chore, and quite entertaining. "Move your mouth like this." "No, like this, open your mouth with your lips over your teeth." I did my best.
It was such a good feeling to do something extra for him. He needed it. I needed it. I decided that feeling was worth being late with things sometimes, just to take that extra time. It's worth it.