There's an older woman at the hospital who has her son, her only child, at the neurology ward.
He was admitted a month ago after a single road traffic accident, and he has been in a semi conscious state since then.
She's been sitting there day and night, talking to her son, shaking him sometimes trying to get some response from him, wrinkling her forehead in between.
He opens his eyes from time to time and stairs at her, which is a good sign of course - he's still with us!
But one day while we were tucking his bed we noticed that his mother was in an really upset mind set, and suddenly she started spitting on him, on his face.
My gosh I was shocked and just looked at my classmate - did she see what I saw??
The older woman had also got some complaints from the nurses before for not taking "proper care" of her son, not changing diaper properly etc. And the way the nurses talk with the clients relatives is sometimes terrible to hear...but not as terrible thinking how it would feel having your only son in a condition as this.
I ask my self how come she started spitting on her son,.. and I can only think that it must have been out of simple anger to the whole situation. I can't imagine what is going on in her head.. They come from a poor family; having her son as the main breadwinner; they don't know whether he'll be out from the hospital alive; and alive or not, in the end they would have to pay the hospital bill with money they don't have.
As nurses, we are not just there to take care of the client, but also to look after the clients relatives and assess how they are dealing with the situation. A clients relative makes a great importance in the improvement of the patient.
And being ill is not just affecting one person, but the whole family...
A couple of days later I saw the older woman smiling for the first time! She'd been visiting the Krishna temple in Udupi the same day. And in the afternoon I watched her while she was praying for her son, put a bracelet around his arm with a Gods symbol and sweapt a palm leaf up and down over his body...
May the force be with them...:)