Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On the job

This marks the first week I have ever taken care of a ‘terminal’ patient. Humans can project a time they think another person will have left on this earth. But, who really does know? Only God. That’s what the patient told me. He said, “I’m happy.” “I’ve had a good life.” “But, then I thought, there was one thing wrong…I didn’t have my Word. I sent my wife home to bring me my Bible. It should be here in the hospital. I gotta get back in the Word.”

Dehumanism is something I never want to get used to in medicine. It’s not something any one ever tries to practice in medicine. But, more of us than not find ourselves caught in doing it. We see people at their very worst in medicine. In a hospital gown, no make up on, no personal hygeiene as they would normally take care of themselves, and with their individuality stripped the moment they get the charge of “Admit.” What is dehumanism? It is to deprive another of positive human qualities. To “make somebody less human by taking away his or her individuality, the creative and interesting aspects of his or her personality, or his or her compassion and sensitivity towards others.” His compassion and sensitivity towards others-- Every patient shows more compassion than I remember to on many occasions. They wish me “good luck” and “all the best” as I exit their patient room. I may have heard their heart with a nifty tool, but they penetrated mine.

Yesterday, I was given a hug by a deaf, mute, beautiful soul. He greeted me and the attending with the most vibrant smile I have ever seen. Without exchanging a single word, he welcomed us into his world-- Trusting that we were there to help. I could not have anticipated that blessing after extending one the morning prior. While making my way to the door, a patient sat up in his bed, trying to re-place his 2 socks that’d been taken off to inspect his ankles. Without hesitation I ran back to his feet, re-placed his socks one by one as he laid back at the waist with his one arm and his second-- mamed from a gun shot wound.

I never want to de-humanize others where it de-values them. But, I want to de-humanize myself where is makes me more Christ-like.