I went to visit a friend, an older member of our community who was in hospital the other day for no other reason than to say hello. As I walked through the hospital, I saw some familiar faces and some not so familiar and yet they were all very warm and friendly. I looked through the wards and saw a lot of sick people, and many were alone and elderly. I remembered growing up and hospitals were a thing people avoided unless they were sick or had to go and visit someone. As I was walking, I was considering why this was the case. Why avoid a place where there are so many people who are there waiting to see you…?
In my family, I was blessed to have a couple of my close aunties as nurses and they were both always very warm, welcoming, helpful and caring. It wasn’t because they were nurses, as this was just how they are as people. I have known my family doctor my whole life and the man is just a gem; it’s always great to catch up with him, and I actually look forward to going to see him. In my businesses, I come into contact with many people and we have many doctors, nurses and other medical staff as customers and they are all such warm and caring people. I would say most are ready to help you regardless if you are in or out of hospital. As I was walking through the hospital that day, nothing was making sense. If nearly everyone I know that works in the medical professions are so warm and caring, and if the people in hospital all appear to be waiting to see you and most were elderly, then why do we leave them alone?
As I sat down to speak to my friend, others in the room joined in on the conversation. We then had a doctor, nurse and another ward staff join in and pretty soon the room was alive with laughter and conversation. I didn’t stay long but the impact was great and I walked out of the hospital feeling fresher than when I walked in. Pretty soon, my friend was out of hospital and now comes and visits me in my businesses and we have all got to know her family as well. We don’t talk about the day in the hospital directly but you can sense the respect that has grown from that point, like the care that was shown for each other as people is now alive around us.
I can see that little moments can make big changes in how you see people and the world.
Our elderly are just older people and if we leave them alone then we all miss out on the wisdom they have already lived. The hospital isn’t a place to avoid but simply another place where there are people and if you look around, most that are actually in there are some of the warmest and caring people around. I take more time than before around the elderly people I see as I know they have lived a part of life that we can all learn from.
When we come into this world we are met with such care, warmth and patience and so it makes sense that when we are in preparation to leave that the same value and respect is there.
I’m no longer leaving our elderly alone and nor am I avoiding visiting my dear friends, family, colleagues and people I know in hospital, as I have realised they are waiting to see us and my experience now is almost the opposite to what it was before.