Sunday, October 13, 2019

Healing Empathy

The Mystery within...
Sunday, October 6, 2019 

No post today.

Monday, October 7, 2019

No entry yesterday. Got home from the ER after midnight. How fast life can turn chaotic. I stepped into the shower a little after 9:00 p.m. and had just lathered my hair with shampoo when my daughter walked in and said in a shaky voice that I needed to drive her to the hospital, right now. I rinsed off as quickly as I could, dried myself and put my dirty clothes back on and house slippers because they were right there, grabbed my purse and keys, and hurried out to the car where Mary sat waiting.  

Her pain was intense. She wanted me to drive faster. I did. And then we sat in the waiting room for nearly a half hour. Mary said she was afraid she is going to pass out. I put her in a wheel chair and pointed her toward the ER doors. I watched as staff pushed a button on the wall to open those doors. I thought of pushing that button and her chair through those doors myself, but didn’t. I asked the receptionist if you have to be bleeding to be a priority. She smirked.

Finally, we are escorted into a room where a technician inserts a port into Mary’s arm for an intravenous drip. But the bag is not attached for almost another hour. In the intervening time Mary’s crooked face turns hot pink and she tells me her heart is racing. I go out and tell people at the desk. I’m told, “They are busy with other priorities.” I’m scared. I go back in the room.

Mary is standing over a large waste bin vomiting. We are both scared. The technician comes back in and says, “Oh, the intravenous was suppose to be hooked up.” He attached the bag and left. 

And finally, a doctor arrives. 

Her presence is warm, personable and empathic.  She is beautiful and looks like a Hindu Goddess. She talks calmly and confidently to Mary and tells her she may be able to manipulate her dislocated jaw back into place without anesthetic and asks her if she would want to her to try it. Mary agrees. The doctor asks Mary to gently bite down on a syringe tube she placed between her teeth. I watched in utter amazement as Mary’s stiffened body and contorted face miraculously relax almost the moment the doctor’s hands gently touch her face and returns her jaw to its rightful place. The doctor asks Mary if she wants to stay and wait for the intravenous bag to empty before we leave. She declines and we return home a few minutes after midnight.  

I am amazed at how very vulnerable I felt in being so scared for my daughter.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

I wanted to write the hospital powers that be and recommend ER on call staff be brought in when patient loads warrant it but I couldn’t bring myself to make the effort and take the time to do it.  Hopefully, I will get it done at a later date.

I did return to the hospital this afternoon for a scheduled appointment with a vascular surgeon about my increasing concern regarding my varicose veins. Observing other patients and some hospital staff, I felt grateful for my relative good health, body weight, and blood pressure numbers.

This evening, I went to listen to Stephanie Roades from Showing Up for Racial Justice speak. I admired her grasp on people of privilege, and what we are missing out on in our lack of diversity. Most comforting for me was Roade’s acknowledgement that justice is a slow, incremental work of a lifetime.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I don’t remember it previously taking me so long to get the windows washed and storm windows on. I’ve been at it for several days and hope to finish tomorrow. Cold, wet weather is to arrive soon. I wonder how many more years I will be able to do this seasonal task, but am currently grateful I still can.

My next-door neighbor fell and broke her hip last Sunday. She came home from the hospital today. As I carried my ladder in the bright sunshine over to my dining room window, I thought of her plight. My gratitude for my current abilities increased as I made the glass sparkle.   

Thursday, October 10, 2019

I listened to an On Being podcast titled “Befriending Radical Disagreement” featuring Matthew Stevenson, a Jewish college student who invited fellow student, Derek Black, a then White Nationalist, to attend weekly Shabbat dinners with him. (My understanding of a Shabbat meal is celebrating the holy together with family and friends.) Over a period of time, Matthew’s befriending Derek, and sharing these holy meals with him, led Derek to empathy and to renounce his White Nationalist stance that was also a familial tradition, part of his upbringing.   

It takes time and friendship to create empathy to change hearts and minds.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Celebrating the sacred found in the everyday, at a weekly meal, with family and friends, is an enviable, lofty goal that feels far away today.  

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A friend called for help yesterday. Her needs are so great they have overwhelmed me.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

I shared my feeling of being overwhelmed by another's need   with a gathering of women in circle on this night of the full moon.  Their empathy for my angst led me to pray to remember to breathe from our hearts so we can think from our hearts so we can act from our hearts.  Sharing my angst with these beautiful women comforted me.    

1 comment :

  1. Good for you for standing up for your daughter's needs. About ten years ago I had a full day in a clinic of errors, incompetence, neglect, and no information. I was too sick to speak up for myself and the person I brought with me wouldn't. Several days later, after a hospitalization and surgery, I wrote the clinic a detailed letter. The response I got back was a vague apology followed by the admonition that I should advocate better for myself when I'm in a clinic or hospital. So I did: I found a better clinic to go to.

    But changing your health care provider isn't always an option. Whether it's from lack of staffing or a bad attitude, it's not unusual for very sick people to be mistreated in our health care facilities. It's always good to have an advocate with you. Your daughter is fortunate to be able to depend on you.