Telling The truth, being empathetic and the troubled human morality. archive
BY: Chidimma Chukukere
WEAR THOSE SHOES
“The Final Verdict!”
“You are going to die!”
Well, that’s not how we nurses put it. (I sounded more like a Judge).We don’t come as forbearers of doom with standing orders, spelling out the inevitable, factual end of a client just newly diagnosed of a terminal disease.
But as I held the hands of my client, who had grown fond of me over the weeks, I realized that my ability to remain professional would fail me.
He had just been diagnosed of a terminal disease, and I was the one to bring him the sad news, as well as counsel him.
So, I played that scenario of a Judge in my head, just to find some firmness in my voice. But it just didn’t work!
“Chidimma, what would you do, if you were the one who had just being diagnosed?” I asked myself.
What would I do if I was told I was going to die? No…Not suddenly… But I was going to die slowly and gradually…watching death eat the life out of me in glee. Watching my family cry, pray, cry again, and finally see me as a burden, till my dying breath. What would I do?
How could I stand the “pity party” of friends and ‘ironic’ well wishers? Those who forgot you were also a human being and kept doing things for you without asking if you needed help. Those who shared pictures of you on social media asking for pittance prayers, but never cared how you fared.
What would I do? I would die. Inside, I would deny its existence. A part of me would hope it was just a bad dream, a mistake in diagnosis.
I would regret things I had or had not done. I would review my life. Become indifferent. unmoved. “People die everyday”, I would say. I would question. How? Why? When? Why me?
Then, I would need a friend. Because I would cry, my life was ending, really ending, and I needed a friend who didn’t flow with the “pity party or question party”, but who would treat me as me, and make me feel that life could still be lived, as my own..
And that was how I counseled my client. It was a long, tough one, but I actually got him laughing, and at ease,
because in the end, what really mattered was, I chose to wear his shoes. In nursing, we call that empathy.
Why did I choose to write this? We have forgotten the essence of being empathic. Simply put: Wearing another’s shoes. Our selfishness and greed has become so natural to us, and extremely overwhelming that we instead, destroy each other’s shoes in our quest for emptiness and vanity.
No empathy for the weak, the sick, aged, pregnant women.Infact, our feelings have been burnt to unrecoverable ashes.
Would you choose to wear someone’s shoes today? And while doing so, would you do it right?
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