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Convalescence

patient, time, diet and change

CONVALESCENCE.

This is the period (luring which, the disease having ceased, the patient's disturbed organs gradually return to the state of health, and his strength gradually becomes restored.

All the febrile medicines are, of course, by this time stopped, and only aperient medicine is occasionally given.

It is a time when the attendant must exer cise a great deal of reasonable but firm control over the patient, restraining alike his peevish ness and his haste to be up. The patient usu ally wants to hurry, to get some change of diet, to be allowed to sit up, to see friends, to get out of bed ; the nurse should hurry slowly.

It is a good rule to give no change of diet, that is, to give nothing beyond milk, light soups, light milk-puddings, bread and butter, till the coating is quite off the tongue and it is per fectly clean. Then a light solid meal of fish, or chicken, with a little tender vegetable, &c., may be given to dinner, and this, after a day or two of trial, agreeing, additions may gradually be made to other meals.

As regards sitting up, another good rule is "one thing at a time'. If the patient is getting a change of diet, which may tax his newly re stored digestive power, it would be a mistake simultaneously to tax his other powers. So give him his choice, a continuance of the simple diet, and a short trial out of bed, or a gradual variation of diet, and no getting out of bed till the success of that experiment is proved. Pro

bably, however, he can be allowed to sit up in bed to meals. After several days of varied diet, without disturbance, then he may be allowed up at the bedside for a few minutes. A very few minutes will likely suffice, for most frequently a patient feels giddy and even faint at first. This is just because his blood-vessels, unused for a time to the vertical position, dilate with the pressure of blood, the blood deserts the vessels of the head, and the patient looks white and feels faint. This will gradually cease with custom. It is better for the patient to be up a short time twice daily than to be up only once and a longer time. The patient should quite have regained his steadiness betore he is allowed to venture out, and as soon as he is fit to get out he is fit to get away for a change, the best way to complete his restora tion.

Of course, the first time he leaves his room it must be for a disinfecting bath, and to be clothed in fresh non-infected garments ; and he must then not return to that room till it has been thoroughly disinfected.

After the patient has become fit for a varied diet, and not before, tonics, either for digestion, or of quinine and iron, may be resorted to, if desired. But change of air will do more than any of these.