Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/514

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quirements. It is the object of the present article to furnish a few simple directions for the care of the sick that have the warrant of practical experience.

The first thing to be considered is the room itself. And the proper time to consider it is when you build your house. But, as most of us are forced to be content with houses already built, and built with no reference in the mind of the architect to the probability of illness among its inhabitants, it is only left for us to see how we may best avail ourselves of such conveniences—or inconveniences—as we may chance to have. There is always, at least, a choice of evils.

The sick-room should be on the sunny side of the house, and have plenty of windows. Only in exceptional cases, such as inflammation of the eye or brain, is it necessary to have the room darkened, and even then a south room, with the light carefully moderated by blinds and curtains, is to be preferred to a darker one on the north side. In the majority of cases, light, and not only light, but direct sunshine, is to be desired, not only for the additional cheerfulness which it gives, but because of its actual physical effects. Sunlight is a powerful remedial agent. You put the drooping plants which you wish to restore to vigor in the brightest, sunniest spot in your house—do the same with the feeble and sickly human being for whose improvement you arc so anxiously looking, and you will derive similar beneficial results.

The sick-room should be, as far as possible, remote from the noises of the house and of the street. If, as is sometimes the case, this desideratum is quite incompatible with the last-named, still, except where there is great nervous irritability, give the preference to the sunny side, even at some loss of quiet.

Noise which is understood and inevitable is far less annoying than would be a much slighter noise, unexplained or unnecessary. Intermittent is more hurtful than continuous noise. Sudden, sharp, and jarring sounds are especially to be avoided. Manage, if possible, to have the room over your patient unoccupied. Modern houses are so slightly built, and their vibrations so trying, that, unless you can so arrange, you will often find it better to put your patient at the top of the house, in spite of the fatigue of the stairs.

Many slight and apparently unimportant noises, which are nevertheless peculiarly annoying to the sensitive nerves of the sick, may easily, with a little care and forethought, be entirely done away with. If you have coal to put on the fire, bring it in wrapped in a paper, and lay it on paper and all. Oil the hinges of creaking doors. Fix wedges in rattling windows. Keep rocking-chairs out of the room. Avoid wearing clothes that rustle or shoes that squeak. Do not whisper, either in your patient's room, or just outside his door. A low, distinct tone, when conversation is necessary, will seldom annoy. Whispering always will, as will any sound which creates strained at-