Saturday, October 11, 2008

real life experience

Some of you may know that I am a social worker~I love helping people, but my real passion has always been working with the elderly population. I can remember being like 6 years old and seeing elderly people at the grocery store and wanting to hug them. Some people look at babies and think all babies are cute, but I have always thought the elderly were adorable. I work in a nursing home, most people my age (30) would never enjoy the work that I do, but truly feel that I have followed my calling in life. But being only 30, and not having all the life experiences as my patients or their families, I have always wondered if my clients have thought that I was out of touch. I really feel that I can now use my experiences with losing Lily as a way to identify with my patients. First, I know now how helpless you feel when you are sick. I was so sick that first day after surgery that I had to have people move my body position every two hours. I had to have people do things for me that I would have been mortified if I had to do for someone else. I remember how lonely I felt when if my family had to go do things and I was at the hospital by myself. I shudder to recall how terrible the food at the hospital was. I think how trapped I felt with the ventilator in my body, and the IVs attached to 4 different areas in my body. I can now identify with how my patients may feel when they are no longer able to do things for themselves, and have to solely depend on staff around them. Second, I can now identify with the pain felt by the resident's families when they have lost someone they love. How much pain they are in when they are busy planning the funeral~picking out the coffin or urn, the music to be played, what they will wear to the service, and how they feel to pack up their loved ones belongings. Because, now I have done the same things for my daughter. When I hug my residents and their families now, it is with the sense of empathy that maybe I didn't possess prior to losing my daughter. Her life and death have profoundly changed who I am as a woman, and as a human being.


Beth said...

I think it is great that you are seeing how your horrible experience can help you be a better person. After I lost Ada, I mentioned out to my mom that I got so many cards from older people. I got quite a few from older people from my church that I barely know. She pointed out that it's because they have had more life experiences and they know how much it means to get a card when you are going through something - and she's right. I have never sent a sympathy card to anybody before, I don't think, but I will now. Our society doesn't value elderly people and all that they can teach us like other cultures do. I am so glad that there are people like you with a passion for the elderly who help make their lives better. I think when I have a baby I will take him/her to visit a nursing home and help brighten the residents' day.

Mrs. Mother said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am remembering and thinking of Lily today on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Remembrance Day.