Letters From Home

The Angels of the Battlefield by William Ludwell Sheppard     ushistory.org

The Angels of the Battlefield by William Ludwell Sheppard ushistory.org

“Dear Ganfanther,

You are so poor.  Why are you so poor?  Wade it on the peepers.  Lys to the dodders.

Love,

Your Granddaughter”

This was the letter hanging on the wall of one of my patients I cared for ten years ago.  It took me and another nurse a good hour to decipher this child’s prose. (Granted, there was a bit more to this letter then I can remember.)  I’m not sure why, but we laughed so hard at this heartfelt attempt of one granddaughters letter to her sick grandfather.

In most of our critically ill patient rooms, family would feel the need to post letters and pictures and transform what once was a sterile sick-bed, into a familiar family album.  Those bedside images have stuck with me throughout my career as memories of people I have cared for and most who didn’t make it.

These letters and pictures were nothing more than a simple gesture of hope to remind the person lying dormant in that bed that they had something to wake up for, get better for, and come home to.

A personal touch in such an impersonal place can go a long way; not just for the patient, but for everyone who enters the room and is boldly reminded that Mr. Jones is not just the guy in room 203, but he’s a grandfather with a granddaughter at home who’s worried about him.  It’s our job to keep that alive, even if we can’t keep him alive.

Translation to letter above:

Dear Grandfather,

You are so sick.  Why are you so sick?  Write it on the paper.  Listen to the doctors.

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One thought on “Letters From Home

  1. It is true that in the end, family and friends are really what is Important! People don’t ask for pictures on their house or car!

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