Just imagine for a moment that you can not move. Your body lies inert on a hard surface.

You can hear, you see, sometimes you connect with your around… but others you do not. Back to close your eyes and return to plunge you in the purest and most silent darkness.

But there you are: alive, seeing and hearing, but not be able to speak or move. You notice something strange in the throat, you want to shout, you like to cry, you like to complain and want to move… but you can’t.

You want to know what happens there, where you are, what happened and why. You want to know who are those who move around, what they do and why sometimes they look at you in that way. But you still want to know more, want to know why demons sometimes used that tone of voice as someone who wants to avoid breaking a porcelain vase.

And then you realize: you can not communicate. You have much, much fear. An icy fear piercing you inside

Suddenly, you hear: “Be calmt, is a tube that you have in your mouth that helps you breathe. Do you hear me? Do you have pain? All good is. Close your eyes if you hear my voice. Squeeze my hand if you have pain. You are… in the ICU”.

Sometimes, one thing as simple as blinking becomes impossible for a critically-ill patient sedated to the core. Many times holding a hand slightly and move is something that is not within their reach.

Are the health personnel concious about the impotence, pain and suffering physical and emotional suffering that feel this type of patients? How many of them are torn down inside while we strive to avoid it? Do we know the thousand cries that crowd in their throats wanting to shout that they are not well, having pain, fear and distress and that perhaps they may want to go from here, literally, body and soul?.

I think no. I think that often we are not aware and make the big mistake of come into the room like robots without devoting a sad single minute of our working day to bring us closer to the bed, take the hand without gloves, and feel them.


Feel them and they feel us. Tell them that we are there. That even though they do not see nor hear we are there at his side. Very close to them. Tell them also, that if you can not see, hear, or feel continually family or friends to your around, is because there is a visitation schedule. Tell them what time is, what day… or something as simple as introduce ourselves.

Stay beside a minute, only one.

And touch them a shoulder. And look them in the eye. And feel how to breathe. Only sixty seconds.

Because I’m sure, very sure, that also that must be part of the top care that we want to provide every day. I am sure that if this “human sedoanalgesia” is sold in pharmacies and be part of our list of drugs to manage, we will heal bodies and souls.

Frustration and stress that health professionals feel many times to communicate and treat such patients is considerable. But the fear is transformed if I lose my own fear.

A few days ago I heard how the brother of an intubated patient approached him, took his hand and whispering: “Don’t worry: you think and I will listen to you”.

I wonder: really do we think in this small detail? I wish I could scream and answer a resounding Yes. But I think that I can only whisper “sometimes”.

Medication and the latest technology, yes for sure… but recovering that sensitivity and humanity that I do not know where it has hidden.

Natalia Salgueiro Martínez (@Nalatysalgue)
ICU Nurse
Policlínica Miramar, Palma de Mallorca