Haven't posted in a while. Lots of reasons but the chief one was that some of my mental energy was dealing with a situation with my sister Karen. The first born. The pretty one. Now, the rock star patient.
Ya see...that thing that touches a whole lot of families, a serious health issue, touched our family. Karen has been dealing with one of those. It would be disrespectful to disclose details. But I've been trying to notice anything useful and positive that comes out of coping with a crisis. I have noticed a lot. Here are a few.
- I didn't think I could admire my sister any more than I did a few months ago...we're a pretty tight knit family. But she is a rock star. From the very beginning of this "adventure in health care consumption" she has been a model patient. She went from consult to consult, getting a lot of complicated information shoved at her; she dealt (with some help from another great sister) a mountain of paperwork; AND she kept her positive attitude. Then, during this last few days of intensive healthcare consumption, she progressed faster than anyone could have hoped. And while recuperating - she did what Karen always does - befriends every person she comes in contact with.
Karen greets everyone she meets with a smile. She finds out their name. She uses it. Karen is just like that. She amazes me. And during her stay with the incredible professionals at UVA Health System in Charlottesville, VA - she got to know (even if only in a small way) each person that she came in contact with. I saw how she knew her ICU nurse Crystal's hometown, that one of her patient care professionals was from West Africa (I'm afraid to name a lot of names, wouldn't want to leave anybody out. Karen would be able to write this part with great detail.) I could tell with one exchange that Karen knew a young lady had a frustrating morning and that she was happy to know that the day had smoothed out for her. I'm glad I had a chance to notice that.
- I got to spend time with my brother in law. I noticed how he adores my sister. He still picks on her - otherwise she might think she's really sick. But I saw a lot of love in between the lines.
- I saw how many people will stop in their busy lives to support each other. Sure, the husband and the parents and such are there the most...but unexpected sacrifices of time from family and friends were there, too. So many people took time to reach out with an email, a card, a text, even visits! She now has balloons and flowers and a crazy-eyed stuffed fat monkey keeping her company. And a big pile of e-cards (thank you, UVA Health System volunteers!) from a wide circle of friends. I noticed that - and saw it replicated with other patients and their families.
- I got to go to Charlottesville and Trader Joe's. Hey, it's a positive... And I noticed how much I enjoyed dark chocolate covered pretzel thins.
It is easy to focus on the obstacle. There have been (and will be) times that a crisis is a wall you keep running into. For just a moment, from time to time...just lean on the wall and look around...maybe there is something positive hiding in that situation. Maybe.