Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Another Ride

     This afternoon I picked up a patient from her chemo treatments and gave her a ride back home.  It was actually the same person I had driven a week or two ago so I think her familiarity with me made it that much more comfortable for her.  As we did the last time, we had plenty to talk about as we filled each other in about our families and their lives.  Here are just a few of my reflections from this activity:
  • As I sat in the doctor's office and waited for her to be released from her treatment, I couldn't help but notice how difficult it must be to work in a place where there seems to be so much suffering.  To their credit, the staff seemed to be upbeat and positive.  The patients, though, truly are gravely ill.  It must take extraordinary compassion to be there to support them on a daily basis.
  • When I dropped off my patient and helped her up the steps to her house and then turned to go home, I tried to imagine what the rest of the day would be like for her.  Her spouse died a few years ago after a long period of illness.  Her children are grown and she lives alone.  Though she does not come across as someone lonely or depressed at all, I couldn't help but wonder how it must feel to deal with her illness alone.  Maybe her children come to visit each night; I don't really know.  But there must be thousands and thousands of patients who face the frightening prospect of illness and old age mostly alone, with minimal, if any support network.
  • It really is rewarding to be able to help people through this particular program.  I enjoy getting to know the people, and it's clear that I'm making a difference for them.  When you stop and think about it, it's really quite remarkable, and heartening, to realize how many people volunteer in programs like these - helping total strangers for no other reason that because it's needed.  It's another reminder that people really are mostly good.
     Tomorrow I've agreed to do another ride for a last-minute request.  More on that tomorrow night . . . 

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