Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Something That Touched My Heart Today

I work fulltime (seventy plus hours a week) as a professional writer and editor, and today happened to be one of my stressful days as i had alot of catching up to do. Anyway, I had an assignment from my company to write about coping with a terminal illness. It is a subject that I had deeply enjoyed since it relates to my interest in caring for people. i have alot of caregiver experience which naturally made this writing topic one of deep passion!

As I was doing my research for the assignment, I came across something that I will never forget. It changed my life and reinforced my values of caring for people. It was an interview that a nurse conducted with an HIV infected woman, and the woman had some very powerful words to say to that nurse. Check out the article below;

Tuesday, November 14, 2000
The Importance of a Human Touch
By Megan Baird

I’m scared. Right now I am 21 years old, a senior in college, six months pregnant and one year ago I found out I am HIV-positive.

I know what I just told you made you uneasy. I know it made me uneasy to say it. How would you respond if someone told you this? How would it make you feel?
This person could be anyone. She could be a friend, a neighbor, a colleague or even a relative. Two years ago she was my patient. Let me tell you how I

It was my first interview with a patient, and I must admit that I was nervous, very nervous. I didn’t want her to know this was my first interview and I
was unsure of myself. I took a deep breath and called her in. Her name was Jennifer.

I tried to be as professional as I could during the course of the interview. When she told me she was HIV- positive and pregnant, I quickly wrote down the
information and attempted to be unaffected by her response. My mind was racing, and I found it difficult to concentrate. I had so many concerns for her.
How was she dealing with her diagnosis? Was she scared? I tried to shake these thoughts from my head. I had an interview to conduct. I needed to be strong
and confident and not let Jennifer see my weaknesses.

In the middle of my questions, she stopped me. She looked at my name tag and asked, “Megan, why didn’t you tell me how you felt when I told you I had HIV?
Why didn’t you respond?” I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. I slowly put down my clipboard, looked up at her and asked, “How does it make you feel?”

She told me she was scared — very scared. She said she felt very alone sometimes and she was afraid of what her future held. She had dreams of becoming
a lawyer but was devastated when she found out she was HIV-positive. She was worried about how people would treat her, and, most importantly, she was concerned
for the health of her unborn child.

I told her how I felt when she told me — how I had wanted to comfort her but that I was afraid to be unprofessional.

It was then that she told me something I will never forget — something that has changed my approach to nursing and given new meaning to the career path
I have chosen. She said, “Megan, never grow cold to your patients’ needs. That’s how many doctors and nurses deal with the emotional strain that comes
with caring for people. They find the stress and heartache too difficult to handle and eventually grow numb to it in an attempt to cope. Don’t ever let
this happen to you. I am not just a disease, not just a check on a piece of paper, not just a diagnosis. I am a person. My illness cannot just be treated
with medicine; it must also be treated with tenderness and compassion. I am just like you. I have hopes and dreams just like you do. I know that you get
scared and hurt just like I do. Only when you realize this will you truly be able to care for, heal and help people.”

When the interview was over I wished her luck and thanked her. She then turned to me and said, “You are going to be an amazing nurse someday, Megan.”

I came to Georgetown to become a nurse and became a better person. Some of the most rewarding moments of my college education have occurred when the books
are closed, and I am face to face with another person. Through these encounters, I have learned to be comfortable with my own emotions and responses. In
sharing this personal part of myself with other people, I am beginning to understand how vulnerability can lead to strength and not weakness. My exchanges
have not been one-sided, and I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to listen to others and share their journeys with them. This shared experience
has helped me to recognize the person in myself and the person in those around me.

At the end of May this year, the members of the senior class will leave Georgetown with degrees in hand. But these degrees are a testament to only part
of the education available here. There is not a certificate symbolizing what I have learned from my family, friends, patients, teachers and the strangers
who have changed my life with one brief encounter. These people have made me a better person, and I wish I could thank them all. Maybe I am not the one
who deserves the certificate of achievement, but then again, maybe I am their reward.

Megan Baird is a senior in the School of Nursing.

Please people, always remember this. It is something that should never be forgotten. The vulnerable (those who are special needs, mentally retarded, or invalid), the sick, and the dying need you. Let's not be so quick to forget that. One day, you will need someone. That's how it always happens, isn't it? I feel extremely rewarded helping, giving to, and caring for others. Yes, it can be draining to the point that all energy is zapped, and it can feel like the end of the world sometimes: however, nothing--no matter the richest accomplishment, the biggest reward, or the greatest gift--could replace the experience of making another's day by imparting to such a vulnerable soul that you are always there and dearly love them.

1 comment:

Yours Truly said...

going through your warrior links and finally i came to this..

wow, your great.. and you are blind ?

Reina, you are an inspiration yourself.. Keep up the good work..

May God bless you !