For most it’s normal to start the day with a quick preview of what lies ahead. What are my appointments, dates, commitments? When do I have to be where? What do I have to get done by when and with whom? How am I feeling? How are those aches and pains? Well, you know what I’m saying … routines to get us oriented and underway.
A visit last night to a patient at hospice left me with many impressions. How is he coping, lying there all day and night, unable to get up without a “two-assist”? How does he bear believing that “my life has been one mistake after another”? Where will he find answers to such questions as “will my spirit take along all my baggage when I die?”
As I write, I’m becoming aware that these lines are phrased as another person’s worries. They are not mine — or are they? What if I were to lie in that bed, with nothing to do between meals I won’t eat, medications I have lost faith in, and the occasional visits from caregivers to disturb my ruminations? The person I visited did not come from another planet, does not belong to a foreign species: that’s me behind the curtain. You as well; all of us.
How would this day be different (and it would be!) if one of today’s appointments arose from a “come and see me” phone call from your doctor? What if within minutes of sitting down in her office you’d learn that the routine blood test had revealed cancer cells thought your body?
How would that change your priorities? What would be of utmost importance?