Whenever

Whenever is a state of mind.  Many a day goes by that I see whenever walk into my office but never walk out.  That relative contentment, sought after by many of us and achieved by some of us, falls victim to the reality of the news that I often have to share.  The patient, the person sitting across from me, who thought that he or she had a lifetime in front of them, is now staring at a defined amount of time.  The next steps, like the first few stepping stones on a path with an end, are daunting.  So many have walked that path before, and sadly many will after.  What can I do to make the stones feel firmer under their feet?  So many questions, so many thoughts, so much fear.  Their minds are racing.  With the fear, there is anger, with the fear, there is despair.  It is hope that they need to hear, it is hope that they need to hold onto.  What can I tell them that gives them hope when that is their new diagnosis, their new identity, their new state of mind?  How do I empower him or her as a patient, to take control, to move forward?  Rightly or wrongly, information is power.  Understanding is power.  We talk, and we talk, and we talk more.  They need that.  How can that power go with them when they leave? How can I help whenever become, “What’s next?”

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