Restless. That’s what I have been the past three weeks. But the question is, since almost everyone is feeling the same way too, what keeps you going?
A patient made me happy today. Last week, too, actually. Patient X suffered the consequences of a cerebrovascular accident, also known as stroke. Me and my partner have been meeting with stroke patients since last month, and I can say that although this study we’re doing involves intensive reading, writing, analyzing and interpreting, I became even more interested and motivated to go deeper because of the things I learn from them.
It’s just so amazing how the process of relating to patients work, whether it’s with mental patients (from my internship in the Psychiatric clinic) or medical patients (whom I am currently dealing with). It starts with you trying to get the patient to confide to you and let them know that you’re there to sincerely help them, not really to be cured, but to feel better about their condition. Then, as the rapport is built, and you feel that they trust you and opens up to you on their deepest fears, worries, struggles, it’s as if they are the ones who become therapeutic for you. Their hope, resilience, optimism that things can get better; it’s like I’m the one receiving therapy. But it works both ways, and that’s what keeps me going. :)
So how did Patient X made my day?
Aside from making me laugh by his snide remarks and occasional teasing during and after the psychological testing, he was so generous to me and my partner. I offered that we would walk with him on his way home, but then he treated us to dinner first. We really didn’t want to, cause we were too shy to be “treated” by a patient, haha, but he really wanted to cause he said he was thankful for us. For keeping him company, for sparing time alone that saddens him, for hoping that he could really go through it all with a smile on his face.
After dinner, he said he wanted to go to the mall to buy books. Reading is mainly his leisure activity since the occurence of CVA. Again, I offered that me and my partner would at least take him there, but we ended up not wanting to leave so we were with him the whole time. We went to a book sale, a jeepney ride from his home, and there I knew his interests: thriller/crime/suspense novels were his type. He bought two books and then saw me reading a psychological book by Carl Jung. He looked at the cover as I was reading, asked me what it was about, and immediately and forcefully grabbed it from me to the counter. He paid for the book! I was so shy and thankful, but he said, “You’re my friend, so you shouldn’t be shy just by something like this.” I blushed even more. This made my day.