May 8, 2018 at 11:10 pm #3637
My experiences with the healthcare system have been relatively brief and uneventful. I remember times when I have visited the hospital to get patched up from my childhood misadventures; and I do remember a time when I visited my mom in the hospital when she had her gallbladder removed or a visit to a fellow church member after a surgery, but overall, that is rather the extent of it. I’m sure I’m forgetting some detail or some story I’ve been told, but that’s really the extent of it.
I have to say that I have been exceedingly fortunate in that I have not been around much illness, or pain or death really. Everyone who has been sick (requiring long-term care or terminal) has been tertiary to me, the same with the pain that goes along with those experiences. And while I have lost family members, I was either too young to fully understand what was happening at the time, or we were too far away geographically for it to really hit home. But for all of my fortune so far, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that such times and instances are coming. And so I guess I have to take this information and what it means (what it will mean), and include it into my current life experiences; what I as a lay-person as well as what I as a part of a ministry might/will experience. It will be something (I’m not sure what the appropriate word is to use here) to eventually connect the head-knowledge (as I tell my youth, what we know through education or observation) with my heart-knowledge (what we know through experience).
I like the idea of healing (or easing pain) to be as well-rounded as it can be. There are so many facets to humanity at any one time, it would be foolish for us to limit the scope of healing to “curing the disease” because by simply being a part of the human experience, “healing” is not one-dimensional. And I would love to see this idea, this approach to integrating the spiritual aspects of the human experience take deep root into our current healthcare system. There is a need there, and we can see it and say “I’m pretty sure this is what we’re missing. Now what?” and the logical thing to do is to bring this to the doctors, the nurses, the healthcare workers because they are approachable to us. But I have to express concern that (and this was never displayed in the articles, merely an observation on my part) there might be some who would find fault with the doctors because they are treating the healing as one-dimensional, not necessarily because they are uncaring but because they have no way to do it, or no ability (the wiggle-room) to resolve the need that is expressed. They can identify what the patient or their family-unit needs, they can see the solution, but because they themselves cannot provide it might be translated as inactivity and that might be translated into uncaring. Which is not the case at all.
Sometimes we are able to accurately convey what it is that we need, “what hurts” so to speak, we only need someone to point us in the direction we need to go. And sometimes, we are aware that something is wrong (the gentleman yelling in the last article for example) but we don’t know how to identify it and we really don’t know what direction we need to go in. So our need for guidance is compounded. We have the innate ability for empathy and sympathy for others who are hurting, but we lack the training for how to help. And that is what we read in the articles. However, there alongside the reality that our healthcare system is unfortunately skewed to one approach of healing as opposed to a well-rounded approach, is hope. Hope that there is change occurring and that we are not only seeing it happening right now, but that there will be a shift back to a balanced approach to healing in the future. And not to find fault with those who are teasing out the path for that, but to walk along with them and encourage them as they lead the rest of us.
We all need compassion and in turn need to be compassionate, and that follows through in every facet of life, but especially when we find ourselves at our most vulnerable which is most often at the hospital or Hospice bedside, either as the person in the bed or a loved-one of the person in the bed.
May 13, 2018 at 9:38 am #3645
Hi Kim, great insights, thanks!
I think you are right – there are the systems issues and the frantic pace at times. There is also the unrealistic expectation that the docs will meet all of our needs, and they can’t. The question for me is do they then refer to qualified spiritual care practitioners?
Your call for compassion (grace) is important…we all need it!
May 15, 2018 at 9:14 am #3647
Thank you Kim.
When I began CPE, I had not experienced a major trauma or significant death in my life like other people in my group had had. Nor did I have any experience with hospitals except that is were we went to see the doctor for an annual physical. This was a concern for me and I wondered how I could provide care for someone who was experiencing such events. The process helped me realize that though I had not had such experience that other described, I did in fact have experiences that from my perspective were traumatic and were major losses. As I reflected on those and how I felt at the time, I became more sensitive to what someone might be felling. This helped me be more compassionate and empathetic in my presence.
I agree with what you say about doctors “treating the healing as one-dimensional.” This is their training. My sense from the articles is that a multi-dimensional perspective is being included in their education process. This will add to the doctors’ overall empathetic and compassionate care for people. This does not mean they are necessarily the experts in spiritual care, but they are sensitized to it and use others – Chaplains – to provided that care. I believe the holistic care for people happens with a team approach.
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