Friday, September 16, 2011

It Could Be Worse

I walked into the room to take vital signs on a very thin young man. He was very calm, his mother was an anxious ball of nerves.  She was so worried about her son.

After introducing myself, I immediately got a good vibe from him.  Polite, easy-going, he spoke softly and acquiesced to all my requests and questions with good humor.

S: "Do you feel any pain?"
Young man: "Not at the moment, thank you for asking."
S: "Ah, well that's good to hear!"
Young man: "Yes, I suppose so."
S: "If you don't mind me asking, what did you come in for?"
Young man: "Well, I have renal failure and have had type I diabetes since I was 3 years old. I'm waiting for the transplant team to come talk to me."
S: "Oh, I am so sorry! That sounds terrible."
"Well," he shrugged and smiled, "it could be worse."

Really? Life could be worse than having renal failure and living half your life in the hospital? He was right, of course- I've seen worse... But he is still so young.  I tried to imagine what it was like to go through dialysis every week, to be on the transplant list, to be on anti-rejection medication on top of all the diabetic worries, insulin shots, controlled diet... I can only thank my lucky stars.  He is tough and a down-to-earth.  He is not bitter, as far as I can tell. He exuded a peaceful acceptance of his conditions and thankfulness for having all his wits, limbs, and other functions intact.

I appreciate a good person when I find one, so I stopped by his room several times to just to ask how he was and if I could do anything to make him more comfortable.  He never required anything, though each time I came in, his mother would start asking me questions.  Poor lady.


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