He was in serious condition, due to a stroke. When he was transferred to us, he had been recovering from it for several months, but still unable to walk, and speech impaired. He was only able to be mobile by wheelchair. He needed assistance to eat, take medications, and toileting. As with many stroke victims, at times he would become quite emotional, and break down in tears; especially when he had trouble communicating his needs to the nurses and staff.
The saddest part of this man’s situation to me was his background, and what his accomplishments were. This man had graduated with honors in high school, gone on to achieve a master’s degree in business, spoke seven languages fluently, and at the time of his stroke, was a professor at a well-known college. He had traveled extensively in his life, and had grown children who all were very well educated. Now, in one tragic event, the massive stroke he suffered had taken all of this, and he was totally dependant on other’s to do even the basic necessities of life. Over the years, I had seen many tragic cases like this; each one has been unique, because every person is. But, the consequences of illness, accidents, diseases, causes life altering situations; and it is heart breaking to all involved, the victim, the family members, and even the staff who become emotionally attached to them.
Now, as he struggled to get thru each day, the realization was coming to him in waves that his life would never be the same. Finding purpose, and a reason to go on living at times was overwhelming, and emotions of anger, frustration, and pain were right there at the surface. We as nurses and staff had to understand this, and use compassion, and love to counteract his pain.
Why has this been on my mind? Because I’m slipping into my senior years now, and reflecting a lot on what really matters to me, and what should I change now, while I have the health, strength of mind and body, and ability to do it.
I’ve made these priority in my life:
Live each day to the fullest, be grateful.
Forgive everyone, let the issues of the past be just that; the past.
Spend time getting to know my Lord more, and myself.
Travel light, let go of things that don’t really matter.
Every one of us are in this human condition; we will face tribulation, at some point, and the reality of our bodies failing as time takes it’s toll. I hope this causes you to consider your life; and contemplate what really matters, and make changes now, while you are able.