Surprised by a Miracle
I had been working in the trauma unit at a local hospital for about a year. You get used to families thinking that1 a "coma" patient is moving their hand or doing something that they were asked to do. "Following commands" is what' we call it. Often it's "wishful thinking" on the Families' part.2 Nurses can easily become callous to it.
On this particular night during visiting hours, my patient's wife came in. I had taken care of him for several nights. I was very familiar with his care and what he was able to do. Actually, he didn't do anything. He barely moved at all, even when something would obviously hurt him, such as suctioning.
His wife was very short, about 5 feet tall. She had to stand on a stool to lean over him, so that she could see his face and talk to him. She climbed up on the stool. I spoke to her for a few minutes, and then stepped out to tend to my other patient. A few minutes later, she came running out of the room. In an excited voice, she said, "Donna, he's moving his hand!"
I immediately thought that it was probably her imagination, and that he had not actually done it on purpose. 3 He had been there about a month at the time and had never made any movements on purpose. I asked her what had happened and she said, "I asked him to squeeze my hand and he did !"
This led me to another train of questioning. "But, did he let go4 when you asked him to?" She said yes, that he had done exactly what she asked.
I went into the room with her, not really believing that I would see anything different than I had always seen. But I decided that it would be better to pacify her than to make her think I didn't believe her or that she was somehow mistaken.
She asked him to squeeze her hand, which he did. I said, "Well, ask him to let go." He continued to squeeze for a moment, so that when he finally did let go, I really still didn't believe that he had done it on purpose. So, I said, "Ask him to hold up one finger." He did as asked.
Well, hmm, this was starting to get my attention. I looked at him, his face still somewhat swollen and his eyes still closed. "Stick out5 your tongue!" I said. He did it. I almost fell on the floor. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone "wake up."
Coma n．昏迷 pacify V．安抚
Callous adj. 麻木不仁的 swollen adj.肿胀的
1．You get used to families thinking that…：病人家属会觉得……，对此你会习以为常的。
2．Often it’s “wishful thinking” on the families’ part ：通常这只不过是病人家属的愿望思维。
1. The first paragraph indicates that more often than not a coma patient___________.
A is found to be following commands.
B is thought to be following commands.
C is used to following commands.
D is callous to nurses' commands.
2. What was the condition of the patient before that particular night?
A He talked only with his wife.
B He barely moved at all.
C He moved only when hurt.
D He was too lazy to do anything at all.
3. How did the author feel upon first hearing what the excited wife said?
A She was amused.
B She was doubtful.
C She was scared.
D She was shocked.
4. What did the patient do on that particular night?
A He squeezed and let go his wife's hand.
B He held up one of his fingers.
C He stuck out his tongue.
D All of the above.
5. The author "almost fell on the floor" because ___________.
A she could hardly believe her eyes.
B she had been working too hard.
C she had been deceived.
D she had been tripped.