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Monday, June 11, 2018

Caring About the Caregiver

I was off work for a few days last week. My peepers needed some help. The medical term for my procedure is ptosis. We simply called it “droopy eyelid syndrome.”

Many people are not fans of hospital visits. Especially me. I am, however, grateful for the medical experts who show up when I need care.

There are exceptions. In 2005, I was escorted into surgery requiring a quintuple bypass procedure. The team at Rush Copley hospital and the Heart Institute next door masterfully kept me alive. So who can complain?

Well, I can. One nurse didn’t get the memo that post heart surgery patients need careful attention. She was on overnight duty and had a nasty habit of bursting into the room while I was asleep, turning on the lights and telling me it was time to check my vitals. Such an abrupt awakening almost ended my vitals!

Wishing to keep future patients from enduring this shock treatment, I made mention of this to the head nurse. She graciously told me she would deal with it. And she did. That triggered a visit by Nurse Ratchet who gave me an earful about how she disagreed with my assessment. This is not good for blood pressure readings. I did escape unharmed.

My most recent hospital visit went as well as anyone could ask. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. The anesthesiologist had a fine sense of humor. And my eye doc was all business. Which is what I want when you’re tinkering with one of my five senses. Hats off to the Dupage Medical Center team.

Now I will say that no matter the hospital, how many times do they have to ask you for your name and birthday? Followed by, “And what procedure are you here for?” To which I want to reply, “Don’t you know?!” Of course they do. They’re doing apt legal protection so that we are all there for the same reason.

But something different happened on this venture to the hospital. It happened in me. I found myself asking more questions about the people who were serving me.

One had worked previously in the cardiac care center and knew the surgeon who had worked on me in 2005. She was originally from the Phillippines. This job, she said, was easier because all her patients in this part of the hospital go home.

Another nurse was excited about a family member getting married this month. But she also revealed pain in discussing another family member who was struggling with some deep personal issues. My wife and I said we would pray for this person.

My revelation on this visit was that care in the hospital can work both ways. Truly, the medical team must have caring souls to do their work properly. But each of them likely comes to work with their own set of difficulties and burdens. Some might be in the home; others in the workplace.

I must assume the same is true for wherever you work. It certainly is for me. All around us are people who go about their jobs, but often with struggles we can’t see. Taking a moment to gently dig deeper into their souls might bring just enough relief for this person to live more encouraged…and valued.

The Good Samaritan story in the Bible offers many lessons. Certainly the most obvious is how we can turn a blind eye to those we pass by who are hurting. How refreshing to encounter the one who stops. To help. To serve. With no expectations of having the favor returned. You can read the story in Luke, Chapter 10.

So to all who serve in any endeavor of life with a spirit of caring, I salute you. And as we ourselves are blessed by good servants, let’s return the favor by caring about them.

With my eyes now opened wider, I hope I can view my neighbor in a new light.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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