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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2092

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1882
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

these women had the true nurse spirit." Offensive odours are sometimes dealt with by sprinkling a little liquid chloride of lime on the floor. Fumigation by burning pastilles is also a common expedient for the purification of the sick-room. Both of these methods are useful, but only in the sense hinted at by the medical lecturer, who commenced his lecture thus: "Fumigations, gentlemen, are of essential importance; they make so abominable a smell, that they compel you to open the windows, and admit fresh air." In this sense they are useful, but unless the cause of the offence is at once removed and fresh air admitted, fumigations and sprinklings are perhaps worse than ineffectual, as they conceal a source of danger.

The sick-room should be perfectly quiet in all dangerous illnesses: talking, gossiping, and, above all, whispering, should not be allowed. Whispering, indeed, is absolute cruelty to the patient; he thinks his complaint the subject, and strains his ear painfully to catch the sound. When it is necessary to speak, do so distinctly and clearly, so that the patient may hear what is said. It is not advisable to speak of him or his case, but avoid all appearance of mystery. Avoid rustling dresses and creaking shoes; where the carpets are taken up the nurse should wear shoes of list, or some other noiseless material, and her dress should be of soft texture that does not rustle. Instead of a coal-scuttle a basket should be used, filled with convenient sized coals that can be put upon the fire with tongs, while a stick might take the place of a poker, and thus save a great deal of noise when it is necessary to make up the fire.

If there are any superfluous articles of furniture, boxes, etc., in the room, take them away at once, and let the sick-room be as free as possible, so that its cleansing and sweeping will occupy less time. In the case of an infectious disease, move things only into an unused room, where they can be disinfected later on.

An extra room adjoining the sick-room is invaluable to a good nurse, for here, if it be warm weather, she can, when necessary, have a fire, can air linen, wash up any plates, glasses, etc., and do a hundred and one little duties she would otherwise be compelled to perform in the sick-room, thus saving much disturbance to the patient, and keeping the sick-room as it should be kept, free from noise or litter of any sort.

Never let the patient be waked out of his first sleep by noise, nor roused by anything like a surprise. Always sit in the apartment so that the patient has you in view, and is not under the necessity of turning to speak to you. Never keep a patient standing; never speak to one while he is moving. Never lean on the sick-bed, and prevent all noises over-head. Above all, be calm and decisive with the patient.

The sick-bed.—A careful nurse, when a patient leaves his bed, will open the sheets wide, and throw them back, so as to thoroughly air