Friday, May 13, 2011

Sometimes the Patient Teaches the Nurse

She was in her wheelchair that day, not because she couldn’t walk…

But because it was hard to breathe.

The tiny wisps of what used to be hair were covered with a bright brink bandanna.

Her clothes hung loosely on a body that has lost too much weight.

All because of lung cancer.

She smiled when I called her name. When I asked her how she was doing, she didn’t just say the common “fine,” but she didn’t complain either. Just answered honestly and matter-of-factly.

We chatted pleasantly throughout her visit to see the cardiologist. She neither avoided nor dwelt on her cancer. As I wrote down the names of her many medications, she made a joke about them. “Just to lighten your day,” she chuckled.

I looked up into her sparkling eyes and laughed along with this delightful woman, but internally her comment blew me away.

This woman…

Who had endured a two-hour round trip each day, for 30 days, to have radiation treatments. Treatments that would harm her in order to help her.

Who lost weight from being unable to eat, telling me once again in her humble, straightforward manner, that “you never know how much you like to eat until you can’t.”

Who told me she was thankful-- because at least the cancer hadn’t spread to her brain or bones. That she was optimistic about her cancer and the treatments. She was choosing hope.

This beautiful woman…

Who had every reason to think of herself, to be in need of comfort and cheer…

Was thinking of others and choosing to lighten my day.

There are amazing, inspiring people in this world.

I know. Because I met one today.

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