There are two things that are certain in life. Death and life. We prepare for birth for the most part but so often we ignore death, run away from it as though it will never catch up. Death is inevitable and so I think it is vital that we embrace it insomuch as we talk asbout it, prepare for it. Even among Christians who should know that there is life after death and for them at least, eternal life, there is still this fear of death. Fear to the point that we rebuke, blame it on the devil etc. I am not ignorant of the emotional effect of losing a loved one or someone dear to you but I think we can ease the blow of death by facing it head on and preparing as such..
I had this patient who was quite elderly, the first day I was on service I knew that we needed to talk about hospice and code status. I met with her MPOAs and questioned them about what they knew about her condition. As it is in most situations, they had some very unrealistic expectations. They did acknowledge however that she did not want any heroic measures and actually wanted to be a do not resuscitate or DNR. As the day continued, I put a bit of pressure on the MPOAs to follow their loved ones wishes.They finally decided to move her to hospice. The next day, I realized that she may not make it to hospice before she left this earth. Sure enough, I got a call from the staff that she was actively dying. I went to the bedside. Called the family. They never came. But we never left her side. Myself and the staff stayed at her bedside, holding her hands,rubbing her feet and me singing to her as she gracefully left. It was such a beautiful special moment, we cried but rejoiced because this lady had lived a full life.
I have asked myself many times why physicians shy away from talking about death and dying? We know the science, we understand the anatomy,maybe it is the spirituality that we are afraid of? I am not sure but I think that we need to get in the business of preparing our patients for life’s inevitable. The times that I have taken to educate my families about death and dying has been time well spent because they were able to appropriate their time with their loved ones. Let’s take the step to have the conversation.
Often people have told me that I am a ray of sunshine. It is pleasing to hear this but I often wonder what that really means. As I got yet another cup of wonderful chai, she thanked me for coming to her small town. She said I was a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine. I do not think I did anything in particular to warrant such a compliment. We then embarked on a beautiful conversation. The beauty of this little town is that we can stop and take time to know each other. I have more meaning conversation here than I have had any place else. Meaningful because I catch a glimpse of God’s DNA in these people.
I always want to be a good representation of God. I want when people meet me they want what I have. It is free after all; the joy of The Lord. Sometimes we are not even aware of the weight of our presence. Let’s hope that what we are carrying is worth the weight and we are not dumping on people. It is so important that you know who you are because when I worked for a large organization, the administrators were intimidated by me for reasons that I do not know. I have had nurses say that I was too happy, whatever that means. I am grateful that I stayed true to me, how God made me and did not compromise my heart or happiness to fit in. I know what God has given me is special, now I am learning how to share it in a healthy way always. And always is the operative word. So I say so long until next time to a beautiful town that embraced me and loved me as I loved them back.
So there was this restaurant with tremendous ratings. As I started reading the reviews there were a few that were very scathing and what was even more appalling was the owners response to the criticism. I was appalled. After all, he is a professional. It was so disappointing and immature. I heard from residents too that he was just a nasty mean man. I thought, I could not eat here. How could i eat here when this man had been so nasty to people?
As the week proceeded, I had exhausted most of the restaurants in the area, except this one restaurant. I had this nagging feeling that I should at least talk to this man and at least bring to his attention his behavior. On the first day I went there for dinner, I was greeted by a very pleasant man who by his body language was the owner; also he was cooking. The patrons were very friendly and we very quickly engaged in conversation. It was a very pleasant experience. It was in fact the best eating experience I had in the town. The next day I called and he knew immediately it was me on the phone. I went for dinner and he offered me some sparkling cider on the house while I watched him cook my meal. As I went very early, there were no other patrons in the restaurant and so I took the opportunity to ask him about his responses. He went on in a rant about how “they” were wrong and how he used to be nice in the past but now he just let them have it. I insisted that he was wrong to be so rude and he has to remember he has a business and he is expected to rise above that kind of behavior. I explained to him that I was not going to come to restaurant based on his response and that I found it was rude and just unprofessional. Now mind you, I delivered this message with my brand of humor and gentleness. He admitted that I was 100% correct but he still was not going to change. I shook my head and told him, you have to not “stoop to their level. Just be humble, accept the criticism and remember that people are affected by your response.” After it was all said and done, he asked me if I was going to come back the next day for dinner. His employee high fived me when the owner was out of sight and thanked me for saying something. He said it was needed.
It goes to show that you have to be so careful in judging people, while I disagree with him, I had the opportunity to at least have a dialogue with him about his behavior and just maybe it will resonate with him for some time and just maybe he will change. God’s grace is extended to him to change.