Care as Important as Cure
by Leslie Sann
Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.
Our children will thank us for it.
~ Abdu Sharkawy
Recently I attended a professional seminar with the focus on grieving. We were shown a movie, A Good Death, that I found touching as well as refreshing. The setting was a palliative care center in Australia where people are cared for when a cure is no longer an option. These people are in the last stage of their lives.
What touched me was the honesty as the dying process was honored rather than denied. Care is as important as cure. And when facing the last stage of living — our dying — care is all that matters.
My father fell and broke his neck in 2005. He was ill when it happened. He was getting out of bed in the middle of the night. All we know is that he landed on the floor, apparently having hit his head on the nightstand as he went down. He was helicoptered to a teaching hospital on Long Island. I flew in from Chicago to join my family in the waiting room as he underwent surgery to fuse two vertebrae.
We weren’t optimistic he would make it. He was frail after being in and out of hospitals for a few years.
Yet miraculously he did made it emerging from surgery with a feeding tube and a trach. The doctor too, was surprised. But my dad never roused from the anesthetic. Except for one beautiful moment when he and my mom connected, and then he was gone again.
He was in the hospital for 5 weeks. While he was there he got pneumonia. He had congestive heart failure. And there was more. Whatever ailment occurred, the faculty did what they knew to do to bring him back.
However, there was no cure for what really ailed my dad.
He was dying.
No one talked about it.
There was always something else they could do.
Then he got a bed sore. The doctor on duty wanted to do a skin graft. That was too much for me. I saw this as the teaching hospital using my dad to practice procedures.
I told the doctor we wanted a prescription for hospice. To me they were prolonging the reality of his dying. The doctor told me he could not do that. He said they could keep my dad alive for 3 more years. I asked what the quality of his life would be. The doctor told me my dad would never sit up, and would live with a trach and feeding tube for the rest of his life.
My mother was sitting by my side. She was still living in the story that she would be taking him home. No one at the hospital had had an honest conversation with her about the truth his condition.
I turned to my mother and asked her, “Is that what Dad wants? To live like this, Mom — for three more years?”
She shook her head. It seemed for a moment that she woke from a trance. Her reply, an emphatic no. “He does not want this.”
I asked again for my dad to be moved to hospice.
Again the doctor objected.
I held firm.
The doctor yielded.
My dad was immediately taken off life-support (other than the trach) and put in palliative care. Finally he was placed in hospice. A beautiful facility of peace and calm that oozed kindness and care. I was so grateful. This is where I wanted him to be. Tended to in the beauty that comes with honesty, with truth.
He wasn’t there very long dying 23 hours after he arrived.
Or 54 hours after the doctor and I had had our showdown.
I was grateful to be by my dad’s side, holding his hand, in the gentle quiet of the hospice facility.
There is a reality of life that we can embrace. Living is a journey towards death. We can let go of pretending we are not going to die. Knowing death awaits, allows us to embrace the gift of living and loving; to deeply cherish the preciousness of the moment; to celebrate the opportunities as well as the challenges we are designed to overcome.
My dad was over-tended to while my mom was under-attended. No one informed her of the probable outcome of my dad’s condition. No one gave her the chance to face reality. She wasn’t supported in having time with him to say good-bye. Not until we moved him to hospice — and even then — sometimes it takes time to face the truth.
Care is as important as cure.
Are you living in caring or are you living in fear? Are you facing the truth of life or are you pretending something else is happening? Telling the truth is a loving action. Honesty is caring. Life is beautiful and so is death.
The coronavirus is a reality. It is also a reality that not everyone who is exposed will get sick. And almost all who do get sick will NOT die. It is reported 80% of cases are mild. The number is likely higher, as many people go unreported as they don’t even know they have it.
Fear doesn’t stop you from getting the virus. Fear diminishes your immunity. Learning how to care for yourself and each other will help. And if you do get it you almost certainly will get better. Most will. My sister did and 2 of my cousins.
Some of you know I have just completed the manuscript for my second book. It’s in the printing process as I type. “Calm Down Lift UP — into Joy, Peace and Creativity.” I wish I could give the world a copy right now.
Let’s be part of calm, caring and loving kindness going viral instead of spreading the virus of fear. Choose to make a positive contribution to your well-being and to those around you.
One of my clients wrote to me in response to a document I had sent out. She told me she was upset about the fear and the lack of kindness she was witnessing in her community. “I was so angry this morning because no one is asking how can I help the situation.” So she started calling around offering to help.
She says this is helping her staying positive and engaged. “I’m happy, not just because I did anything for anyone else, but because I moved into action to find a way to assist my community.” She reported posting at FB that she was available to help. “If you need me to watch your kids, get groceries, let me know.” She said the whole community mood shifted and people began to engage with more caring and support.
Care is as important as cure.
While we are all navigating through this situation let’s move into caring for ourselves and each other. Let’s all calm down and lift UP into some sanity.
Please be aware, part of self-care includes paying attention to what you ingest. Food, water, supplements and also media. Not everything out there is good for you. Some foods have additives that can be harmful. Some media has additives as well. A bit of something extra that may be a distortion of what is true.
Take care of yourself. Thoughts are not reality. Not everything you think is true. Same goes for the other guy. Not everything he thinks or says is true either.
My intention is to make a positive difference with my attitude and my actions. I have been paying more attention to news that is UPlifting. I have been resting more, staying hydrated, taking preventive measures. I am choosing to stay calm, have fun, and be creative with what is.
What about you?
I find helping others helps me as well. Since Corona Chaos began I have been busy facilitating groups with the intention of being useful with the work I do. My expertise is supporting you in Calming Down and Lifting UP into creative resourcefulness, so that you can face our changing conditions with creativity and grace while building resilience and immunity.
Serving others brings me joy and lifts me UP. Another way I take care of my well-being. Perhaps some of my offerings may be useful to you.
• Building Resilience and Immunity Coaching. Just one conversation can make a big difference. Reach out.
• Calm Down Lift UP Together If private 1:1s are not in your budget come to this Zoom event.
• Group BreathWork has proven successful! Join me on Sunday, May 3. BreathWork helps discharge fear, quiet disturbance, oxygenate the blood and increase your overall level of health.
• Stay Calm and Healthy My colleague Bertrand Babinet and I are offering complimentary Zoom events to assist us in staying strong and resilient in the midst of Corona Chaos. The next gathering is May 2. Please join us if you want support in taking actions you can do to help your equanimity and overall well-being.
• Calm Down Lift UP I have reduced the cost of my online program by 50% to support you in these troubled times. Access the course here in order to receive the $49 price.
Winner in the category of Inspiration Body Mind Spirit Book Awards. Available in paperback or on Kindle at Amazon
Take care of you. Blessings,