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Noise And Disease
Source: Papers On Health
Perhaps nothing shows more the lack of human
feeling in many people than the manner in which they inflict sore
distress on the sick and dying by means of noise. Moreover, recovery is
retarded, and has sometimes been wholly prevented, by nothing but a
noise. It must be understood that talking, and also singing, which
are delightful to some, become intolerable pain to the delicate and
weak. They really are worn out by them. And the wearing out is
real: it is a destruction of nerve substance, when the nerve of the
patient is already too feeble. Shutting doors violently, and the
endless "house noises," must be avoided. Even a long, loud prayer at
the bedside of the sick is utterly out of place. It may become
necessary, in order to prevent such abuses, to exclude from the
sick-room some who will be greatly offended thereby; but courage to
defend a patient against well-meaning intruders is one essential
qualification of a good nurse. Oil doors that squeak, fasten windows
that rattle, but above all keep quiet the tongues that clatter. Let
all whispering in the sick one's hearing be avoided. Speak quietly but
distinctly, so that the patient may not think you are hiding anything
from him. Wrap the coals in pieces of paper, so that they can be put on
the fire by hand, avoiding the noise of shovel or tongs.
No one has a right to do what distresses others, and especially when
they are sick. This principle should guide action. Acting thus will
give untold rest and ease to the troubled.
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