Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A change of perspective

I'm a home health nurse. I went to see one of my patients today that I have been seeing for about a year and a half. Almost two years ago, she had an ATV (aka: four wheeler) accident. She was 28 years old. She has use of her arms, but cannot feel or move anything from her chest down. From day one, her mom has been saying that she's going to walk again. I've never really been encouraging. I just stand there and nod my head sympathetically. Sometimes I'd say, "Well, maybe. You never know." But I never really meant it. Often, I've thought how her mom has just not ever really accepted the way her daughter is always going to be.

Well, today as I was leaving, her mom wished me a happy new year. She said, " You never know what might happen next year." Then, I said I'd be back next month to see her again. Then, the mom said, "Maybe when you come back she'll be walking. That was my Christmas wish." Then, I got it. After a year and a half of thinking that the mom was just not accepting, I finally got it. This mom wasn't delusional. She's a mom. She wishes and hopes for the best for her daughter. How come I couldn't see it before? I wish and hope and pray for a cure for diabetes every day. That isn't any different from what that mom has been doing. I feel so stupid for pitying her before. I told the mom that I hoped I'd see the patient walk again and you never know what cure is just around the corner. And this time I meant it with all my heart.


Vivian said...

Oh the lessons we learn every day. How funny that we are all moms and yet sometimes we can not see others the same as ourselves. How deep empathy can go. What a blessing that lesson brought to all of us. Thanks for sharing.


prayergal said...

Oh the power of a mother's love!

november said...

As a nurse in a professional nurse-patient relationship, I guess you have to be careful that what you say falls within the bounds of ethical and professional practice. For example, you can't say something that would promise a return to full mobility for this patient if that outcome is not within the realm of reasonableness.
I don't know the rules for nurses, but I am guessing that saying something comforting like, "I share your hope" would be OK. After all, without hope, how can there be healing?
Thank you for sharing the story of your son. I hope (there's that word again) that medical advances during his youth will make diabetes a thing of the past.
Happy New Year!