thought you were asleep or unconscious. You might make incorrect assumptions after
hearing the patient in the next bed discussing his symptoms, which happen to be very
similar to yours.
g. You may feel frustrated or anxious about your care being fragmented.
Twenty different staff members may pass through your room on a given day, taking
blood, serving food, conducting tests. When you ask one of them a question, you may
be referred to another level of authority.
h. You may be experiencing other feelings as well--such things as lack of
companionship and loneliness. You are probably worried about your health and how
your absence may be affecting your family, job, or financial status. You may fear not
being taken seriously, especially in a military environment, where people may be
suspected of seeking unnecessary medical attention because it is free.
i. Your patients could be experiencing any or all of these feelings, or they may
just be fearful of experiencing them. Some people cope with such changes very easily
with no apparent emotional strain and no apparent changes in behavior. Others, for
numerous reasons, have a more difficult time coping. If you can see things through
your patient's eyes, you can empathize with any emotional strain experienced and you
will expect the unusual behavior that sometimes follows.
Section II. STAGES OF ILLNESS
Possibly no two people respond to illness in the same way. Reactions vary
depending on such things as cultural background, past experiences, personality, and
upbringing. One person may have been brought up in a family in which expression of
discomfort or discontentment was frowned upon, whereas, in another family, loud
complaining and whining may have been considered to be acceptable and encouraged.
Certain patterns of behavior can be seen, however, in most people, especially those
who are seriously ill. Changes in behavior usually coincide with three major stages of
a. Transition from health to illness.
b. Acceptance of illness.