Nurse Wisdom from the ICU at OHSU (4.13.19)
“Hope is a beautiful thing. Don’t underestimate the power of hope. Optimism is based on the evidence. Hope is based in the spirit. I will place my bets on the strength of the human spirit over the evidence any day. I can give your loved one medicine for their body. You can give them medicine for their spirit which is hope. By showing up with hope yourself you guarantee hope is present in the room and when hope is present anything happens. The miracle of modern medicine and the tenacity of hope working in tandem can boggle the mind, in the best way possible. Hope heals.”
Practitioners will inform you what medicine they are putting in your body. I have noticed healers remind you why it matters by asking what you love most about your life and what you are most looking forward to when you are out of the hospital. A person who has a clear ‘why’ can summon strength they didn’t know they had.
St. Exupery wrote, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the immensity of the sea.”
Hope isn’t a feeling. Hope is a decision.
A teacher tutored patients in a children’s hospital. She was asked to tutor a boy on nouns and adverbs so he didn’t fall too far behind. He was in the burn unit. She had to wear a mask and gown. The boy was horribly burned and in obvious pain. The teacher stumbled through the lesson and didn’t think it went well.
The next morning, a nurse asked the teacher, “What did you do with that boy? We were so worried about him fearing he would give up. After your session, everything’s changed. He’s fighting back. He’s responding to treatment…it’s as though he’s decided to live.”
The boy later explained he had given up hope fearing he was going to die, until he saw the teacher. He realized they wouldn’t send a tutor to work on nouns and adverbs if he was a hopeless case.
Hope is a beautiful thing.
The poet, Pablo Neruda, wrote, “You can cut all the flowers, but you can not keep Spring from coming.”