Sunday, March 13, 2005

The importance of hope

I had a really crappy day yesterday. The patient I was taking care of was dying. I don't suspect he made it through the night. I spent the whole day at his bedside while he flailed in confusion and fright. He was afraid to die. He pleaded to me with his eyes. I was helpless and could only sit there and hold his hand and tell him everything would be alright. Another patient kept having chest pain. Later he couldn't breathe and was crying. There is nothing more humbling than having a grown man cry and ask you to please teach him how to breathe so that he could catch his breath. All the while his wife of 57 years is watching and trying to be strong for her husband even though you can see it is killing her that things are not getting better. Asking me isn't there anything else you can do? After a day like that I felt pretty useless as a nurse. Here I am, supposedly with skills to help save lives, but in both cases there was nothing I could do. Sometimes you just feel like nothing you do in life matters. Sometimes you just want to give up and give in. After contemplating this for a while a homily I heard a while back came to mind. It is about the power of hope. I just thought that I would share it.

A study was performed a while back (before animal activism was around I'm guessing) where a researcher wanted to find out how long it would take for a rat to die if put in a vat of water with no way out (very cruel, I know). He placed a bunch of rats in this bowl filled partially with water. He timed how long it took them to drown. 17 minutes. Again he placed rats in the vat with water. This time he took them out at 16 minutes, dried them off, gave them some food, and let them rest for the night. The next day he placed them back in the vat of water and timed how long it took for them to drown. This time it took 36 hours. The rats had learned hope.
So I guess the point of this story is this: hope has immeasurable power. Yesterday sucked, I wanted to give up my career as a nurse. Today I hope that the next time I will be able to help. I guess I can only hope.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for reminding all of us how important it is to have hope. All the Lord asks is that we trust. Thank you for being proof of that Jen!

:) Kate

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right, we shouldn't fall into dispair or presumption.

Hope is the bridge between faith and love. Without hope, we can not have true faith or true love.

1:33 PM  

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