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A Personal Communication Observation

            As I was walking to an elderly patient's room to assist her with ordering her meals, I knocked twice on the door and announced quietly that I was someone from room service. I opened the door to the room; it was lit by only the tiny light above the sink where you first walk in. Coming from the hallway, I could still hear the bed alarms and the call lights dinging simultaneously from the other rooms. On the patient's table sat a dry erase board with a marker and a Kleenex for an eraser. There were a few parts of some words left on the board that didn't get fully erased. The nurse was standing over the patient's bed giving her some medicine through an IV. When the nurse announced to the patient what type of medication she was administering, she spoke rather loudly, but in a peaceful tone as well. I let the nurse know I was there to get the patient's dinner order for the evening. She informed me the patient was very hard of hearing, did not speak much, and also did not see very well. She instructed me to speak very loudly or to just write in big letters on the dry erase board. .
             Before attempting to speak to the woman, I turned on the light above her bed so we could see each other better. I got beside her bed and spoke in a loud enough voice in which I thought was appropriate. The woman shook her head no and with a soft smile, pointed to the dry erase board sitting on her table. I wrote down a few choices off of the menu that she could order. After she was done reading she looked somewhat disappointed and handed me the board back. I erased what I previously wrote and wrote down a few more options from the menu. Once again, the look of disappointment came. I gave it one last shot writing a couple more items down. I handed the dry erase board to her and as she started to read she squint her eyes a bit. Then, her eyes lit up and with a big smile on her face she shook her head up and down. She pointed to the item that she wanted and gave me the thumbs up.

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