I'm sitting rather early at my computer today, hands wrapped around a hot mug of tea...mmm. I managed to wake up this morning, sans alarm clock. Unfortunately, I woke up 'cause I was sick, thanks due in part to last nights dinner - ice cream, instead of 'real' food. (Hey, don't judge.) Then I got thinking about random things, things that are way too serious for a Saturday morning; about family dynamics, this person's relation to that person, what they have or haven't done, etc. Bah. I had to stop that right away. Instead, I have something much better to talk about.
One of my patients, I've come to learn, was on a plane travelling.. I don't remember where..(someplace warm) and her spine collapsed. Also has 4th stage cancer of.. I can't remember now; something to do with the thoracic spine. I think maybe lungs are involved? Anyways, you walk in this woman's room and it's crowded with flowers, cards, pictures. I mean.. *crowded*. You can tell she's affected or is in touch with a lot of people. You don't see a room like this often. She often has guests and these people are VERY nice; but not only are these people nice, they're.. grounded, very down-to-earth and comfortable with who they are and with who they're around. It's not often you walk into a room with such positive and healing energy. Attached to her door before you walk in is a paper with a Buddhist quote, "Worry is prayer for something you don't want." I like it. I think. I'm still sitting with it, actually, but I like that it's making me reflect. I ran into one of her visitors in the hall whom I know well (I didn't know she knew her) and I told her I would check in on her personally to make sure she has everything she needs. It was nice to feel more of a purpose again; to go above and beyond for a patient, making sure they're comfortable in a miserable place. I can't provide much, but I hope that what I can provide makes things just a bit more pleasant. It was nice to do that "added touch"; unfortunately, I wish I could do that for all my patients, but I just don't have the time (ironic, when my department is trying to focus more around patient-centered care, but that's a rant for another day).
One of my immediate co-workers, his mom is terminal and they're expecting her to go any day; this was another room with a group of family/friends (number of people varying on the day, from a few to several). Also very nice people. It's a comfortable room to walk in.
Both of these accounts have left me blessed to witness human compassion, healing and support. These patients have amazing support systems, how could they not feel at ease going through their illness/death? Not only does it help the patient, but it helps the family; I'm not worried much about my co-worker, for I've seen his support system. It's unfortunate that these instances stand out, because often I see only a person or two at a beside, if any at all. The amount of people I see that have passed without anyone there..it makes me sad (if you work in healthcare, you'll understand my testament).
So I think about these patients and their "healing circles". And it's literally a circle - the patient is in their bed and their visitors will position themselves literally around the patient. What a magnificent thing it must be, being surrounded by healthy, strong people who come to bring us love. It's a silent power, having people around us when times (or health) aren't well. They offer a break from our ills, our worry, our stress, our pain. They offer comfort, support, laughter, smiles, hugs... and any reprieve from what has us down is beneficial, with concrete effects of healing us faster.
So.. I'm going to do my best to ask for help from my "healing circle" over the next week and I urge you to do the same. Don't need one? Find someone who does. Guaranteed there's someone out there who needs to know someone's there and someone cares right now. Go out for coffee! Send a "Thinking of you!" email, text or virtual hug. Send a " :) ". This world isn't going to get any better if we let increasing technology sterilize our relationships. I want your heart warmed by witnessing (or being a part of) human compassion as much as mine has this week.