Was it only last month I did a post on Writer Unboxed about lessons precipitated in a car accident? I aspire to be the kind of person who can learn from anything, but I don’t want to excel at the Zen attitude, you know? *shakes fist at the universe*
In other words, I’ve been AWOL for a loved-one’s health crisis. But that person is making a speedy recovery, so now it’s time to look at the week’s take-away lessons.
1. That I no more enjoy sleeping in ICU-affiliated lounges now than I did a decade ago.
2. That some hospital staff are condescending and rude and label family members as “anxious” — code for “troublesome” — until they learn there’s a doctor in the crowd. Then they bend over backwards, become nervous and self-conscious.
3. That this saddens and frustrates me, but not enough to refrain from using it to protect a loved one.
4. That the phenomenon of nutritional illiteracy is not confined to the pizza-for-a-vegetable movement in the States, because a person can still be hooked up to a heart monitor in a $10,000 dollar a night bed, but be offered $0.75 worth of cheese and trans-fat laden peanut butter — the foods that put them there in the first place.
5. That I’m raising a remarkable young man in that he has the capacity for selflessness in the time of a family member’s illness.
6. That this means he has more maturity than at least three adults of my acquaintance.
7. That I shouldn’t be surprised by interpersonal dynamics, since a health crisis often amplifies faults, flaws, and troubled relationships.
8. That though I aim to be empathic and compassionate, believe in the Golden Rule, and generally do not have to shoehorn myself into this mentality, a she-dragon lurks below this mild, Canadian exterior. In the right circumstances I will call security and say very. Rude. Things.
9. That it felt awesome to drop the social mask and I have yet to experience a pang of remorse.
10. That in the midst of crisis you can be overwhelmed with gratitude. For:
- family that cares
- the kindness of perfect strangers
- the competence and professionalism of certain staff
- groundbreaking doctors who live 3000 miles away, who haven’t been seen for years but who are instantly reachable and willing to provide advice, for free, because they are just that committed. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Dr. John McDougall. Thank you! Again.)
11. That I’m glad to be home. Glad to see the ToolMaster, Molly, and my pets. That it’s wonderful to see my desk and write again, because everything makes sense when committed to paper.
12. That this person’s crisis will not have been in vain, for we all will use it to guide and entrench lifestyle choices in the extended family and community.
Speaking of which, have you made different health decisions because of a loved-one’s personal crisis? If so, what changes did you make and did they stick?