Read from the start

“Can you feel this?” he asked and offered his open palm to me in an invitation. As soon as he felt my hand close by he grabbed my index finger with his fist. “Got you!” he laughed. Then he gently let my fingers feel the pink petals of the flowers. “Shh, gentle does it. Use just the tips of your fingers. Do you feel how tender and fragile they are?”

Karl’s blind eyes turned towards my face. “If you want flowers to blossom, tenderness is the key. Always use just the lightest of touch. Always nourish them. Know which minerals they need and in which amount. Remember that each flower is different. You have to pay close attention to what your flower needs.” Karl let go of my hand. “And of course. Even if you have your flower for a long, long time” – a quick smile flashed across his face: “you still have to water her frequently.”   

Klärchen loved the flowers and from this day on we saw the two of them caring for their flowers together, talking to them, wiping the dust off them with soft tissue and of course, watering them as well.

Klärchen was nearly deaf and we couldn’t always wait around until she got all the information that she needed. So, we nurses often would talk to Karl, who had more time to bring Klärchen up to speed. If you had time to wait around, though – you could get a lesson in how to share information in an empathetic way. 

First Karl would slowly get up from his chair. This took a considerable amount of time, but time they had. Then he would take tiny, insecure steps towards the bed where Klärchen was resting. When his knees finally touched the bed, he would sway back and forth for a second, because the soft mattress wouldn’t offer enough resistance. Once he found his balance he would venture out, along the bed until his hands could finally grab the steel bar at the top of the bed. This was hard work – and painful on top – for the sick old man, but he would never speak to his wife, if he couldn’t be sure that he was close enough for her to hear and that he could have her full attention.

“Klärchen!” he would say. And again: “Klärchen!” 100 percent tenderness at 100 decibels. Karl waited until Klärchen made eye contact, then he would spoon feed her the information.

Continue reading “Whole” 4/7

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