There are several aeroplanes in the air, almost in a row, waiting to land.
Closer, the A2 with traffic jam direction to Madrid.
The sun goes down slowly and is the most beautiful view we can see from this window. Juan looks at the sky and smiles. It seems a beautiful landscape for him.
Two months ago he was admitted to the ICU and memorize each building, each truck on the road, every stain glass. I tell him that we have to go back and asks me like a child “A little more, please”. The last rays for his face and lengthen a bit more time, seeing him enjoy, pointing toward his village.
We are only a hundred metres from the UCI, at the other end of the corridor. Back, we are stopping at all windows and I show him the medical office.
His wife pushes the wheelchair, we did not know she was so talkative! She tells us many things of her life and about the house so beautiful they have. He agrees with a smile, because we have not yet removed his tracheostomy tube and it´s difficult to talk.
The nurse and I are going back, pending the amount of machines that we have placed in the chair and making turns to carry the monitor because the wheelchair has already too many things over…
How can we change the routine of someone who has a long ICU stay?
If the situation allows it, a simple walk can be the best thing that happens in many days. It is quite similar to go to a TC or operating room, and we are accustomed to do this.
The first time you organize a walk with an ICU patient, people will be surprised, some people will disagree, but the effort has reward. Perhaps only for half an hour, but we will teach the patient to see beyond his bed, to change his perspective, to encourage him to keep fighting for what he left out, on the other side of the window.
I wish an ICU as a nicer place soon and not to be so rare accompanying some patients for a walk once in a while.
And if the corridor is too short, why not providing a place prepared for it and be able to meet with family members outside the box? Even, why not receiving also grandchildren, perhaps by surprise? Let’s dreaming: instead of corridors, imagine a small garden, to take fresh air and some sun…
While that moment arrives, we will continue walking up to look out the window at the end of the corridor looking for those little things.
Dra. Ángela Algaba
ICU of Hospital Universitario de Torrejón.