Take Your Medicine

My friend had brain surgery this morning and 2 hours post-op she was fully alert and laughing in the ICU. She's got a 4 inch incision for her trouble and an IV pumping Dilaudid, but she was coherent enough to talk health care policy with her nurses. Modern medicine is pretty amazing (and she's even more so).

I used to visit hospitals frequently when I worked for hospice. Though most of my patients were cared for at home, some of them ended up in the ER after a fall or went in for palliative treatment. Hospitals aren't a location most of us enjoy, but I realized today that I've missed the multi-disciplinary action and opportunity to witness the dynamic combination of skill + compassion. (Compassion added to any skill is pretty rad.) The surgeon was friendly and optimistic. The nurses were kind and attentive, moving through their routines with credibility and ease. I appreciate experience and efficiency - good nurses provide care & comfort while making it look effortless. More often than not, my experiences in hospitals showcase excellent systems, strong communication, and effective teamwork; the stakes are high when mistakes are made here.

While waiting to see my friend, I watched a man in scrubs move through the graceful movements of Tai chi in the courtyard. I later joined him out there to walk the labyrinth in the sun; boy, did that slow me down in a way I'd forgotten since working 4 years in the semiconductor industry.

Grateful my friend was smiling already (step, step)

Touched by the kindness of strangers (step, step)

Awed by the talent and service healthcare providers contribute to our communities (step, step)

I arrived in the center and paused. A prayer for a friend facing cancer treatment. A slow return along the winding path to the place where I began.

We can grow so accustomed to our day-to-day environment that we forget to marvel at the fruits of our labor. Wherever you work, whatever you do, take a moment to appreciate the expertise around you. Gratitude is a key emotional intelligence skill; develop yours.

I find songwriters can often say it better than me. Here's one of my favorites, "Take Your Medicine," from Cloud Cult.

P.S. T, your courage and calm today was incredible. I love it that you skipped the sedative offered and found peace in your own meditation (with a monitored heart rate for evidence!)