All the sides of a story, all its dimensions, need to be considered if I want to interpret the present situation for those I care for well. Part of my responsibility as a caregiver is to provide some meaning for what is happening, to explain it and elucidate it. That’s where all my studies experiences, and travels come into play. Helping my patients understand the incredible balancing act that their bodies are engaging in chemically and physically is a tremendous undertaking. Interpreting the situation in such a way that my patient can understand is where the art comes in.
My patient needs to know that particular medicines can cause specific side effects. For example, when a patient tells me she had a weird dream through the night, it can be helpful to reassure her that the medicine she took that night can cause the vivid dreams or even nightmares. I want to encourage those I’m helping by providing interpretations that help explain the side effect. I believe it’s a side of compassionate care.
Like a geologist interpreting rock formations, explaining the layers of meaning of one’s health status, though difficult especially when someone’s situation is terminal, helps them to embrace the experience with courage. Like being in a foreign country unable to speak the language, the interpreter brings the reassurance that the visitor will be able to find the way.
Divine Care, help me to bring clarity to those I care for by assisting them in interpreting all that they are facing. With compassion and kindness, may I be a light that helps them embrace their fears. Help my words and actions not get lost in translation but be a clear signal to them that they are not alone.
ACTION: What steps do you take to clearly interpret the meaning of a situation for your patients? What were the keep moments in the development of your approach? What are the signs that confirm for you that your patients understand your explanation? Do some extra work this week to check out the interpretations of your patients.
Learn more about the above photo by Alex Jones below. Click the link on the photo above to see it in three dimensions.