A Boost

In nursing lingo, a “boost” is where you use sheets placed underneath a patient to help lift the patient towards the head of the bed. Because the head of a hospital bed raises mechanically, patients just tend to slide down towards the foot. Boosting is something nursing staff do frequently, every day. In fact, boost is probably the most common word spoken in hospital hallways, and there is even universal pantomime for “Can I get a boost?,” which looks a little like a lateral jump-rope swing.

This afternoon I was boosting an elderly patient and her husband decided to help me on the other side of the bed. He pulled hard and the patient soared quickly towards the headboard, making me exclaim, “You almost put her through the headboard!” The old woman smiled and quipped, “He does that all the time at home.”

Oh dear. I felt my cheeks burning.


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