Cultivating a Pretty Good Bedside Manner: A Guide for Non-Healthcare Professionals

Mr. Young Sr. is dying of black lung. The timing of his death appears rather convenient to me, as our Governor, Mr. K, politely asked  the two Young gentlemen to leave our survivor group a week ago (after several weeks of a trial period).

Why are we turning the men out? Well, resources are tight and we can’t have non-contributors eating our food supply. While Mr. Young Sr. has tried to help us in spite of his feeble condition, Mrs. Young Jr. has proven to be, according to the Governor, “a worthless good-for-nothing incapable of lifting a finger to help his fellow man.”

As you can imagine, this is a great personal disappointment due to my unfulfilled romantic intentions with Mr. Young Jr. While we never had anything resembling chemistry, he did end up meeting the items on my husband vetting checklist.* With the Governor’s decision apparently final, I remain resigned to being a spinster forever. (My only hope now is that one of the gentlemen in our colony becomes a widower soon.)

Now the two men continue to stay with us while we “nurse Mr. Young Sr. back to health.” Unfortunately, we have no healthcare professionals in our survival shelter to do any proper caretaking of him. Most of the first outbreaks in 2019 occurred in hospitals killing off the majority of doctors and nurses. Always thinking of others’ needs first, the healer-types have had a very poor survival rate in the past five years.  I like to think that this proves a little theory of mine, which I like to call “survival of the selfish.”

But I digress. I’ve been charged with the task of treating Mr. Young Sr.’s ailments as best I can. As someone who doesn’t have a nurturing bone in my body, this does not play to my strengths but after a recent baking mishap I’ve been told my services in the kitchen are unwanted. Below are some best practices for making a patient feel like they are being well cared for, even when they aren’t.

1. Provide unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures – This comforts your patient by making them feel like you are doing something to heal them. For instance, I always leech my patients as much as possible. Now you might ask “does it have any positive impact beyond a placebo?” The answer is, of course not! But it does seem to gross the patient out so much that they forget about their other ailments for a short time…that is, before they pass out from blood loss.

2. Patronize your Patient – Remember: you know best! Your patient wants to be treated like a child incapable of making decisions or feeding themselves. Dignity is highly overrated. Have some bad news to relate? Use sock puppets and sing-song voices to communicate the information. This makes it fun for everyone.

3. Pretend to Respect Dying Wishes – This seems to hasten the natural (boring) process of death.  For example, Mr. Young Sr.’s dying wish is that his son be allowed to stay in the house. Given Mr. Young Jr.’s complete lack of interest in contributing to the common welfare, granting this wish seemed pretty unlikely. However, I told him that the Governor had changed his mind so that he would just die already.

4. Remember to Take Care of Yourself First- Phew! Nursing is hard work. That is why I always make sure that I spend the majority of my time taking care of myself first. DIY mani/pedis, taking naps, and snacking are all VERY important elements of the healing process.

 Better get back to it!

Medically yours,
Miss E

 * It turn out he is not a cannibal, rather just an unhygienic omnivore.

3 thoughts on “Cultivating a Pretty Good Bedside Manner: A Guide for Non-Healthcare Professionals

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