I woke during the middle of the night a few weeks ago, listening to the beeps and swishes of the ICU machines, our second night in the hospital. I wanted to weep with gratitude for those machines that were taking care of my son. The day before started at dawn, with my wonderful, obnoxious son cracking jokes as he drove us to the health clinic for his tonsillectomy. By that evening he was drifting between incoherent and unconscious, an adverse reaction to the post-tonsillectomy prescription painkillers.
The ICU machines were the latest of the rapidly growing list of things I was grateful for: prompt paramedics, a speedy ambulance, and medicine to calm his frantic, frenetic behavior. But without a doubt, the most amazing aspect were the emergency room nurses.
In my cranial practice, when a new client comes in, we follow the basic rules of social etiquette. They arrive at my office and politely, sometimes even pleasantly, discuss their health problems and the concerns that lie within their hearts. As we review their health history, I strive to find some pathway to connect with them; such as books, dogs or kids. This connection helps them relax and me gain perspective on their issues. Since cranial sessions are collaborative between the practitioner and the client, this connection facilitates our teamwork. Having a good connection as we begin is like having a delicious slice of cake after a good meal—not essential, but a lovely bonus.
That first night in the emergency room, the patient those nurses cared for, my son, was either unconscious, thrashing around, or needing the sheets changed, again and again. The nurses were gentle and reassuring, especially impressive considering they were racing from room to room to care for too many patients. They didn’t have the luxury of connection while they worked, as compassionate by the end of the night as they had been at the beginning.
I am grateful for many things from that hospital stay: things returned and things anew. I am grateful for the return of my son back to his wonderful, obnoxious self. I hold a renewed reverence for my clients; their courage at confronting their issues. And I have gained a new appreciation of the work of a nurse; the compassion they show for someone under duress, unknowable but still demanding. I admire their stamina and their skill. I am grateful for their hearts.