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By now you know I’m am a respiratory therapist. I will see you if you come into an ER for COPD. I might give you a breathing treatment. I might set up BiPAP. My goal is to help you breathe easier. But there are other things I do that are non-medical. There is a lighter side to my job, a side I think is pretty cool. Here are 8 cool things I enjoy doing with my patients.
My goal is to help you breathe easier
- We talk. Some of the best conversations I have are with patients. People with COPD tend to be over the age of 45. They have many life experiences. They have cool stories to tell. It’s fun to listen and learn.
- We share pictures. My lady patients love to share pictures of their grandchildren. And, yes, some guys do too. They also love sharing pictures of their pets. They also love talking about their chldren, grandchildren and pets. Often they ask about your family. Do you have kids? How many do you have? Do you have pictures I can see? So, we share pictures. We share stories about our families. It’s a simple topic enjoyed by so many.
- We watch TV. Sometimes I start up a treatment and sit in the recliner. The patient turns the TV so I can see. It’s a classic John Wayne movie. We both become rapt in the movie. Before we know it the treatment is done. But the therapist continues to watch the movie. Then we have a discussion about it. I learn about John Wayne and his films. I get a list of recommended classic movies to watch.
- We carefully talk politics. Oh, I’m guilty of it. Most of the time you bring it up. And I just play along. I love talking politics. I usually scope out to learn your political views. I’m getting pretty good at that. So, I won’t say something that will irritate you. I just find politics so interesting. Sometimes you ask me what I think. Most likely I listen to what you have to say. And I learn.
- We play cards. So it’s the middle of the night. You are bored. You have a deck of cards. You have a game you love playing. We get to talking. You deal the cards. I sit down on the other side of your bedside table. And we play cards. We laugh. We talk. We help each other pass the time.
- We discuss religion. I am a good Catholic. If I see a Bible on your table I might ask, “So, if you met a person who didn’t believe in God what passage would you recommend.” And a conversation will ensue. Sometimes they bring it up. I know you are told not to talk religion. But, I find that it makes for a great discussion. If you don’t believe in God, then we talk about something else. So, no problem there.
- We talk about movies and books. I am an avid reader. I love Stephen King. I have read at least 35 of his books. I like to read other authors. So when I see a patient is reading a certain book I might ask about it. This usually sparks a nice discussion. Books are often recommended to me. I jot them down on my worksheet.
- We become friends. Some people with COPD are frequent fliers. It’s kind of like working at a grocery store and you know your customer. They come into the ER. You recognize the person and they recognize you. You say “Hi, John. How are your kids.” You ask about ME, even though you are feeling sick. Sure, we’d rather not have to meet all the time. But, it’s kind of nice when you develop friendships. It’s nice when you are not among strangers but among friends.
The favorite part of my job
So, this is my favorite part of my job. I love chumming wth my patients. Even if you don’t know me, I’m sure we’ll find something in common. You’ll have some story to tell. You’ll have pictures to share. Or something else in mind. Either way, we are more than just therapists, nurses and doctors. We are people too.