Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"life hoppers"

Everyone love life though for some living life is both an art and science. Some people love to live and others are living to die as everyone does. Then there are the life hoppers.

He was admitted again, as I saw his name on the chart. I knew him from his last admission and other admissions over the years. Every time it looked as that was his last time there in hospital but every time he made it back to life. He was just not ready to hopp off life..

What is that which makes some people like him to stay back despite of all odds. He had End stage renal disease and was on dialysis, heart blocks and got pacemaker, he got stomach bleed and it was managed, he got pneumonia and other infections, and he survived. He was an ordinary man but I saw his survival journey through medical and surgical interventions.He was a true life hopper as we called him.

Is it science of medicine which keeps people alive or there is some thing beyond that. A question with a potential answer which can trigger more questions. To some, we die as we live; life is all about an experience of dying from the beginning. The life hoppers are the ones who give us a sense of understanding of what is there, beyond and near to most of us:.A question of having a quantity life in years to count versus a life full of fervor- a qualified,dignified life of self preservation keeping private what is our privates.

Life is not a simple journey anyway..............

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"worriers or warriors"

Being in her body was not easy, but being in her head was the real challenge. She was suffering from respiratory failure with advanced emphysema, heart failure and borderline renal insufficiency. She was dependent on the ventilator to breath, and spontaneous breathing was a story of past.

She was a warrior, as her family described her, she want to get better and she will fight for it.

But we saw her as a worrier; everything was a trigger of anxiety for her.Certainly that was a disaster, if one can't breath too. I do consider shortness of breath a close cousin of anxiety, both goes hand in hand, one comes following the other

Why we struggle so much in trying to get better, telling every one that our loved ones are the fighters, though a wounded one, and why they become worriers instead. Those were the questions then, and those are questions now.

The power of acceptance and moving on with what we really know about our limitations  is one way of dealing a worrier state of mind. Acceptance can be our armor and what we want from ourselves can guide us in the journey though the end of our earthly life. It may be a choice of a good quality of life over a leased life on artificial means.The answer is usually on our faces, it is that acceptance which can liberate oneself, and can turn a worrier into a warrior. Most people know that but few do apply.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

" in search of a miracle"

He was suffering from a multitude of health issues, and nothing was new for him and his wife. Their life was revolving in and out of hospitals, and waiting for the next doctor's office appointments.

When I met him, he was not doing well. His breathing was labored, his heart rhythm was irregular, his lungs were getting filled in with fluid and  his kidneys were shutting down. Then he recovered. He was a man with nine lives as we get to know him.

Though his progress was slow but steady, his recovery was amazingly in right direction and his tests were showing signs of improvement.

One day his wife told me that she is frustrated with his condition, then she continued that she understood her husband's condition and not looking for a miracle.

To some, miracles never happen in their lives or surroundings. They may need to define a miracle differently. They may have to look at them selves, waking up every morning, walking on two feet with a balance, how it happened; they may need to ponder.

Others are the believers, and they live a life full of miracles. They know that each breath is a miracle in itself. How it happen,why it happen, no questions.Lets receive it and keep a miracle simple; that is their motto.

Just be happy to waking up every day to greet sun and moon, birds and sky,  and be in love; we are surrounded by miracles. Feel it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

" shalom"

He was a well established name while he was alive and no one knew his worth upon his death.
No, he was not an elephant.

I took care of him as he was admitted with a dying liver due to his self inflicted harms to his beloved liver with alcoholism. The logic of forbidding intoxication clearly understandable in his context. He had every thing at one point in his life until the other point arrived. He destroyed what he thought he had established until we met in a hospital room.

His condition deteriorated with liver failure and his appearance rose to the ultimate tanned body one can imagine. He was severely jaundiced. He then died.

To some, life is unfair and full of struggles until they come face to face with the dying reality of death. They may even die struggling - fighting for a life they may have no more.

Other wonder about struggles of living without worrying about death and dying. They know that the key is to live life in a dying way such as there is no struggles for tomorrow to joy or mourn.

They surrender to life and consider death as an extension of life. They respect moments of life as the time will pass until we meet again. They know the exercise; lets not struggle and be in peace - shalom.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

" broken legacy"

She was suffering from heart failure, infections, renal insufficiency and anemia on top of her failure to thrive. A ventilator was delivering oxygen to her mind and body.

As time was turning its wheel in slow motion one day at a time, we were losing her.

The problem was that she had no documented end of life wish, and her family wants to keep her alive no matter what because she was a fighter once upon a time.

Then one night things happened as it happen in hospitals, she lost her pulse and she was resuscitated in vain. She died.

To some, end of life decisions are easy and considered as a favor to those left behind. That is like really dying in peace as most of us strive for all of our lives.

Others, miss the boat of making decision on time and end up sick and incapacitated to speak for themselves. They end up even with broken ribs with a life saving resuscitation. Its sad and like dying after all with a broken legacy besides a broken promise.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

" the power of God "

She was young and dying young is not easy, one of our team member uttered, rightly so that was difficult for all of us.

She was suffering from the multi-organ system failure and the overall prognosis was poor. The medical team caring for her had their struggles; to sustain a dying body by artificial means.

As her family was grieving for the impending loss of a loved one, I was asked to clarify whether she can hear them while she was so sick at her death bed.

I struggled to answer. I was not sure what to tell her family. The patient may or may not be hearing them, only God knows that.In my silent moments I have learned that what you can't hear, you may feel that. The language of words is the voice, that needs a medium, a receptor and a processor but the language of feeling is a simple touch. A touch which can raise up life from the dead, and heal the leper.

I told them that they can hold her and tell her everything they want to share. They looked at me with a gratitude, and I struggled to hide a renegade tear from the corner of my eye as I told them also that only God knows the truth.

To some the power of God is in His creations and manifestations. Others amazed by the Almighty and praise Him knowingly that He is the One who has the power to control the nature of be and it is.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

" killing oneself "

She did it again as she did it before, and before that. This time she had almost succeeded, but we were there and she was rescued.

This time, saving her was not the same. She was not happy as she was unsuccessful in her attempt and we the health providers as a team were not happy, as we failed to stop what was happening.

Being suicidal is not easy, it may be  a desire to do something to escape from oneself. It may seem as a goal oriented task but the fact is that being suicidal is just way to a means. I wonder how much distraction, pain, fantasy and unknown there is to motivate someone to take their own life.Then, there is a religious paradigm of eternal condemnation of disrespecting the gift of life and our mortal struggle of mental health diseases.

Only questions and questions in search of some answers, like in a locked suicidal prevention unit to save one's life or wishful thinking of beaming in the life force in those poor souls to appreciate the gift of life.

" living dangerously "

Riding a motorcycle was his passion since his childhood but the trouble was that he was not a child anymore. I met him after his accident when he was wrapped up in bandages to  keep his body parts intact and aligned by the modern day orthopedics techniques.

I was curios about him since he had a hobby that cost him where he was then; lying in a hospital bed with unknown and unpredictable recovery.

As he improve over days and got ready to participate in therapy I asked him; how come now, what can be done at a younger age. I meant his lifestyle of a bike rider with acrobatic theme of living dangerously.

He just smiled and I smiled back at him.

To some, living a life dangerously is just a figure of speech. They are the ones who live in passion, a life to enjoy and a moment to live, as it brings no harm to others.They teach us that every breath in this world is burdened by sharing of life together unknown to many.We share our breath with all who are around us; to breath in and out Wi Fi oxygen we call it, air. They believe that our breath and our air in which we all breath, is the final equalizer.

Others, attempt to live dangerously by compromising others life. They want to gain and have it all for themselves.This may be in the name of fun or peace.The sad reality is that we still cannot recycle a human body completely. We can all  break and crack like he did.The truth is that our body can heal slowing but it can never be the same or as good as new.

The bottom line is that with all the happenings to us in this life, some learn and some will be taught again in the circle of life.

Monday, May 27, 2013

" a secret hope "

He was connected to a ventilator as he was suffering from a respiratory failure, generalized muscle weakness and skin wounds.

A smile on his face was my first encounter with him upon his admission to the hospital. He was not able to talk, and he greeted me with a smile. He made me feel better in his hopeless situation that day.

As days were turning into weeks, and weeks into months his smile stayed with him as it was on day one of his admission . He never had any complaints as I remembered him and I never saw him without a smile. I did ask him reason for his smiley face and his reply was a smile: a genuine smile. I never found out whether he did that intentionally or he had a secret hope.

He remained connected to the string of life via a ventilator and his weakness progressed so much so that he could not move any of his body parts. I witnessed then his smile moved from his face to his eyes but I never saw a tear.

As my connection developed to his widow to soul, I had a great respect for him. I thought then, I was taking care of a soul rather than a failing body. That was my first ever experience of taking care of a living soul in a dying body.

I think a smiley face can be contagious, it can be triggered by just one bright smile but a tearful face usually draw more attention.

To some, a smile may not a have past but a tear usually does have a past; a story or a tragedy.

Others see a smile as a communication to future while a tear as a communication with the past; certainly both connect us to our present.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

" love your cat"

She was struggling while lying in her bed. Lights were off in that hospital's private room but the lights of passing by automobiles were creating abstract shadows on the walls and roof of her room. The shadows were expanding and shrinking in different dimensions. She was watching those shadows as someone had put her thoughts on display via a projector on those walls.

Those shadows were representing her state of mind; thoughts not clear but were there, real and abstract with unknown meanings.

She was trying to make a decision about her sick dying cat. Her feelings were simple; she loved her cat. To her that decision was more challenging than her own health care decision she made a few days ago. She made a decision that she will go for surgery while accepting the risks to gain a benefit of uncertainty.

To some, life revolves around caring and giving, and their connection to life is the most sacred one. They honor all life forms whether a dying animal or a living human. They just care for all.

Others,  struggle to honor a life as it comes in different forms. They even struggle to accept the equality of their own life with others. The struggle goes on while peace prevails with scare of impending war. The mind is a terrible battle field to fight a war, a lot of people know but few understand.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"free dumb"

Overcoming the fear of failure is the best test-taking skill. Pass or fail is just an experience of being tested, that's it. You will be judged with your failures most often unfortunately.

He was talking and coherent. He was himself, as I had known him. I was pleased but that was yesterday.

I was called emergently the next day to the ward as the patient was agitated, pulling out lines and tubes. He was demanding to be discharged home right away.

As I entered his room, I saw him sitting on his bed. He was quiet. I gently asked him, how can I help you?

He looked at me with a faint tear is his eyes and replied, you can't do anything. I have dementia. I am sorry for creating this mess.

He was briefly coherent then.

I sat next to him with his hands in mine. I reminded him of his earlier years and his sayings like freedom is actually free dumb, there is no such thing as freedom, people will make new sets of restrictions for new definitions of freedoms. It always happens.

It appeared that he was listening. Then he broke his silence and said, who are you ?

Monday, March 18, 2013

"creatures of four walls"

This was his fourth year in the hospital, and his family had by then spaced out their visits to see him. Though he was suffering from ventilator dependent respiratory failure, failure to thrive, recurrent pneumonias and heart failure, his real suffering was being stuck in those four walls of a hospital room for the rest of his life.

His condition was not always such that it kept him hospital-bound.  At one point, he was ready to go home but his wife could not muster enough will and support.  At other times, he was hoping to get better than he already was before going home.  His plans never came through, as so often happens.  He was a permanent resident of those four walls by the time I took over his care.

By nature man is a creature of four walls; it can be a room in a house, home, hospital, prison or grave. Our struggles to build a life outside of four walls ultimately bring us back to some type of four walls, like that patient was in the hospital room.

Some people live this life with the goal of leaving it wisely. They live in walls of four seasons knowing that one season won't last forever, as will not the other seasons.  Life goes on and this time will pass, and the four walls of our dwellings change names from a room to a grave in a matter of time. The wise make a permanent dwelling wisely.

Monday, February 25, 2013

" the dream makers"

His being in the hospital was one part of the story. He was requiring oxygen, antibiotics and care of his wounds.

In war, wounds are the souvenirs of one’s presence where flesh meets metal, and where strength of flesh makes history. Disease does eat flesh like wars, but those who remain living to tell the story may not know those who took care of them.

The most unsung heroes are the medical aides doing their jobs; cleaning bodily discharges, moving when required, talking when no one else is available. They care for patients in their respective roles while the medications do their part;  time taking its course, wounds showing off and hope flickering at the cross roads of life and death. They are part of the dream makers, caring for a patient with the doctors and nurses.

To some, dreams are made in sleep; a preview of a tragedy or triumph without physical consequences.

Others become dream makers by providing the best they have, giving their best to care for the total strangers we call patients.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

" cage of age "

He was in his nineties and still ticking as he described himself. Getting older is a true human legacy; aging with grace is a nice souvenir to have. He was talking to me as he was assessed for possible dementia after he suffered from a transient ischemic attack.

Knowing him brought to us the unexpected treasure hunt in our own lives; we were getting older as we discussed during rounds.

Life as we know can be defined as a living in false escapes. We can’t escape wrinkles, falls, inconveniences, diseases and doctors appointments. We strive for a life as it slips out of our bodies from this moment to the following moment until moment count is over.

To some, death is the ultimate escape from life. They know that rewards here are temporary as are sufferings; still they struggle to have it all no matter what.

Others strive to understand a balance between what matters. They are the one who know that our soul carriers namely our bodies are caged in an age log, and some day we all have to turn over our limited carriers to something gentle and light like a whisper of an angel’s wing.

A stress free body is a soul’s spa. Now is the time to act.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

" understanding mind-body connection "

She was suffering from a pneumonia, congestive heart failure and renal insufficiency but the major issue was her severe arthritis. Her pain exacerbation was managed with medications and we saw a good response.

She was among one of those patients who asked me about how my day was going every time I visited her. Every time when she asked,  I replied that it’s my line; every time it brought smile on her face. 

I remembered her interaction with me and her claims of keeping a positive thoughtful mind to heal an ailing body.

To some, a mind body connection heals us all. The belief may comes from the notion that the positivity of thoughts creates positive fields of energy for healing and recovery. But it is not a simple recipe, as we all know.

Others while understanding the strength of connections go beyond. They are the ones who know that the positivity of thoughts count but the neutrality of mind matters. It is that neutral mind which let the Universe in to channel  what is required like healing and hope..

I wonder with amazement that even positive thoughts can be polarizing and may even delay creativity. I think that  keeping a neutral mind may be the biggest challenge for a mind body connection seeker.