what my patient taught me

My patients are teaching me things. About how important it is to make people feel listened to, and heard, and feelings validated. 

When I see my patients I try and go lickety-split, flying from room to room, checking with the nurses, getting patients out of bed. Some patients say no and some need a little coaxing. My patient this week wanted me to come back later (lots of them say that), so I did some coaxing “Let’s just walk to the window…” as I started pulling the walker over. My patient said “You’re not listening to me.” True, I guess I wasn’t. So I said I’m sorry I’ll come back. Then I came back later and she was a joy. She really just needed a little break. Sometimes we all need a little break. 

So back to the walking-to-the-window thing. I love windows, especially the hospital’s windows with views of the city. So naturally, I tell my patients “Let’s walk to the window.” As we were walking she was closing her eyes. I asked why was she closing her eyes. She answered “I’m afraid of heights, so I don’t want to look out the window”. Oh my gosh. Again, me pushing my own ideas, agenda, preferences without considering someone else’s. Not everyone likes what I like.  I didn’t even give her a chance to feel heard. 

And finally, before we had walked, she was feeling a little overwhelmed by the task. All I said was “the room looks pretty long huh? It’s a big room”. She looked at me and smiled and said “thank you.” Because I had validated her thoughts, her fears. She needed to know that it wasn’t just her that felt the room seemed big. Sometimes it helps for someone to agree that “Yes, this (whatever this is) looks/seems hard. And yes, you can do hard things”.

 Thankful for this patient to clearly tell me she felt, for a second for me to pause and think more of the patient and less of my patient caseload. Its okay to realize when my thought process was wrong, my words could have been said differently, or if I should have listened more. It’s okay to reqlize such things– these are sanctifying. And with that, when I show myself grace and open myself up to God’s grace, this is where I can realign ny heart and mind to Him. 

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

It reminds me that every person we meet, every thought, every minute, we have opportunity to invite God in, settle our spirit, make a godly choice. Or we can we rush through our days, being controlled my routine and productivity and worry; too self-consumed to be present enough with others. 

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