My patients don’t recover.
Sounds like the opening line of a thriller about a serial killer, doesn’t it?
But actually, I work in palliative care, so it’s just a fact.
I mean, there are the exceptions: those sent home from hospital for their remaining days who plateau and regain some function for a while. There’s even the occasional patient who unexpectedly improves, who we have end up doing old fashioned rehab with, going from bed bound to transferring to an armchair to standing and walking again. These are joyful moments: for them, their loved ones, and for me.
But we don’t see many like that.
I listen silently as a husband tells his wife she’s going to get better soon and hope he won’t turn to me for confirmation. Sometimes I wonder if she knows the truth but goes along with it for his sake. Sometimes I wonder if he knows the truth but says otherwise for hers. Sometimes I wish they would just tell each other what’s in their hearts. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I think maybe they don’t need to.
My job is not to give them false hope but neither is it to shatter their coping strategies. My job is to walk beside them, reassuring them that they are not alone in the dark. My job is to listen, to hold hands, to catch tears.
My job is to be Jesus for them.
(You can find more writing inspired by this week’s prompt word RECOVER here: FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Recover – Five Minute Friday )