It is a lot easier to unconditionally care for a stranger than to accept our own family. A stranger brings no baggage, no past to the relationship. We have the opportunity to see the person in the now, as simply whom they present at the moment.
The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Longtime Hospice Nurse by Barbara Karnes
"Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.”
perfect for today (which is rather wet)
For various reasons that I won’t go into here, I ended up earning myself an abdominal CT with (of course) contrast. As always, it was weird being on the other side. The tech who started my IV didn’t do it as a clean procedure - think teeth. Enough said. I ended up being so scared of her that I let her talk me into the IV “stinging” instead of “hurting” and got a nice bit of contrast infiltrated into my arm.
I try to take all my experiences on the other side as learning opportunities, but this one was a bit much. I’m also not sure what the lesson is - no teeth when starting IVs? I hopefully already knew that.
We have to ask ourselves whether medicine is to remain a humanitarian and respected profession or a new but depersonalized science in the service of prolonging life rather than diminishing human suffering.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, 1969
It’s chilling to see what year she said this, and to see which path American medicine chose to take leading us to the current problems we have today.
I went thrift store shopping with my mother-in-law the Saturday after Thanksgiving (which was when they were having their sale). I came out with several hoodies, a t-shirt, and lots of books. Some of them I just picked up because of the author, or because the title sounded interesting. I ended up with a few gems - one of the books is a selection of T.S. Eliot poems, which (as best as I can figure out) he himself chose which poems would be included. I do know that it includes a lot of his later work, which is harder to find, as most people just focus on his early works and ignore his post-conversion work. So far, my favorite is “Choruses From “The Rock”“, which was written in 1934. I might post some lines from it later on.
He would probably have liked to believe he had done something wrong so that he could at least orient himself a little, but she had told him a terrible thing, that he had done nothing to offend, that his father had found fault with him anyway, only because he was old and sad now, not the father he thought he had come home to.
Earlier this year, I read a book of essays by Marilynne Robinson (When I Was A Child I Read Books) and was really impressed. She also writes fiction. I usually have little patience for fiction, but decided to give her books a try. I’ve read two so far, Home and Gilead. They’re basically the same story, but told from a different person’s perspective each time. She doesn’t break them up into chapters, which frustrated me at first, but in the end I liked, because I think too many authors try to set up cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter when the book might flow better if those were omitted and you just kept reading.
She has so many quotable lines in her books; I’m going to post a few soon.