Thursday, October 1, 2009

Turning shit into fertilizers?

This workshop is about facilitating hope in advanced illnesses, which I attended in August courtesy of Hospis Malaysia.

Facilitating Hope in advanced illnesses
Advances in medicine do not always ease the burden of suffering and may also cause despair to patients and families. Many still succumb to their illness despite the best medical intentions.

Hope is a multi-dimensional dynamic life force characterized by a confident yet uncertain expectation of achieving a future good, which, to the hoping person, is realistically possible and personally significant.
Hope is the bridge from the experiences of the past, accepting the reality of the present and taking the next step to the future to an achievable goal.
“If I can’t sit with despair, obviously I can’t facilitate hope.
If I don’t know how to use the medicine of hope for myself, how can I do it to others?
If I can’t change the situation, then I’m challenge to change myself.”
Ask, “What gives me hope? What motivates me?”

Here, we explored how we can facilitate hope, visiting all the 4 quadrants:
Physical – experience the world with security.
Emotional – experience the world with feelings, with self.
Intellectual – experience the world through good judgment.
Spiritual – experience the world with intuition. to find purpose in life. to have inner peace.
Hope blossoms with:
1. Presence of meaningful relationships.
2. Ability to feel light-hearted.
3. Clear aims.
4. Courage, determination and security.
5. Ability to recall positive moments.
6. Having one’s individuality accepted and respected.
7. Spiritual beliefs.

Yet if all else fails and there’s really nothing else left to say, it would be wise to just keep silent and lend a listening ear to the patient.

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one heart the aching or cool one pain,
I shall not live in vain.” – Emily Dickinson

One of my experiences came the day when Madam Tan Loy, a cancer patient at the Day Care Centre especially requested for me to massage her. The first thought that came to my mind was, “Ah, my massage must be good and making her so comfortable that she asked for me…” Pride swept over me immediately. While I was massaging her, I suddenly realized that my massage was no big deal. The big deal was Madam Tan Loy needed to talk to someone. The big deal was Madam Tan Loy needed someone to listen to her. At the end of our conversation, she told me that she will not be attending the Day Care for the next couple of months as she will be going for her treatment.
It was not by accident that Madam Tan Loy chose me. I'm sure she was there to show me an important lesson. Thank God, it did not take me too long to learn this lesson. To be a good listener is an art. I felt humbled by the experience and so much more.
Indeed, I’ve learned so much from patients themselves and they just do not have any idea how much they have actually healed me.

“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” – Henry Ibsen

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