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Find A Way

Find A Way

There are episodes that occur in our lives that sometimes makes us wonder about the fabric of our human existence. To most people, relationships are the most important feature of their lives. I believe people make our lives worth living in so many ways. Isolation and solitude has its place in everyone's life. But overall, people generate purpose.

I happened to walk into a patient room this week, only to find a woman in severe distress. She was crying, her eyes were swollen from shedding tears for days. Her daughter was holding her hand, trying to sooth the raw unrelenting agony her mother was feeling. The entire room was filled with the energy of suffering.


Most people rarely walk into a room and find such a scene. Doctors tend to shy away from these situations because helping a seriously emotionally distressed person requires some sense of compassion and empathy. The white coat most physicians wear is a barrier of sorts, distancing them from the patient and shielding them from connecting to the energy of a sad or sorrowful situation. Professors in medical schools plant the seeds of distance, telling young physicians-to-be to stay clear of getting to close to anyone they encounter; it keeps their objectivity from being tarnished making them more effective diagnosticians. That concept is absolute boulder dash. Humans feel first, then process thought. We are all feeling machines that think. Removing oneself from the sorrow and agony during a patient interaction is selfish and self centered on the physician's part; I liken it to a form of patient abandonment. How does one just walk away from the suffering of a wounded animal?

As I sat down, she tried to smile at me which gave me a sense that she was in the office for some emotional healing. "My husband has been diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer." She wept. "He's only has a twenty percent chance of survival. What will I do?" I had the honor of meeting her husband during a few past visits, he is a courageous man who was as fit as a fiddle. He ran daily, ate the right foods and was absolutely dedicated to his wife, the woman who was sitting in my office in absolute agony. She had suffered a couple of strokes in the past which made her frail. Her husband spent his entire recent life working to help her recover from her disabilities. From what I knew from past interactions with them, he was devoted to her, she as devoted to him. The sun rose and set on their lives fused together in the mystery of love.

"My first husband died of cancer when my daughter was little. Now him. We've loved each other for thirty-seven years." She was absolutely out-of sorts in so many ways. As I sat and listened, I recognized an odd, almost sublime beauty in her situation. Love is healing. Love is grand. Love is everything to some. And in profound love, when the bell sounds warning that a relationship is changing, it can absolutely destroy two people brought together because of it.

She was sitting in my office, her raw roots of emotional existence were being exposed to the stinging harshness of reality that the fertile masculine Spirit from which she was nourished may soon be gone. Her Sun was sick. She felt as if her soul was being torn away from her devoted husband, lover and friend by the hand of a No-Named-God. She was locked in a dark, gray, moldy, dungeon of misery. She could not stop crying.

I looked over at her and smiled. I spoke to her in a low soothing voice and her tears stopped. We spoke of life, love and the meaning of her husband's life. I told her as long as she breathed, he would breath. Most men derive their psychological well-being from their wives, and she needed to find the courage to hold herself up in this time of crisis and let him care for her, since he was absolutely committed to that purpose. Everyone needs a purpose when they are faced with their own mortality due to an illness that may linger and plunge in and out of remission. It is their purpose that keeps them going when all else has failed. She was his star and he was hers. Nature's perfection in a moment of tragedy.

We decided to change some of her medication, in an effort to dampen the pain of her raw nerves exposure to the daily chill of her heartbreaking reality. A change which might hold back her tears, allow her to hold his hand and spend time attending to him as he helps her. In living our lives, the end is never far from the beginning and the beginning is never far from the end.

As much as I love being an artist and creating works of steel, canvas and poetry, there is no higher good in my life than being of service to someone in their deepest, darkest most desperate hour. I think she is grieving because she has been through this before and it did not end well. Now is the time for her to embrace whatever happens next, hold his hand, walk with him as best that she can and stay close.

Love will always find a way.

Doc
Posted by Amanda Sanders at 9:05 AM
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