As the sun was setting I made my way to the ninth floor of the hospital. I was not part of the medical team taking care of this patient but rather on a Senior year elective known as: Whole Person Care. The assignment was simple: interview a patient regarding his or her stay in the hospital. Then, after the interview, try to write down the interview verbatim. I had no idea how much this one patient interaction would impact me for the rest of my life.
I found Mr. Wise Man sitting up in his bed watching the evening news. He motioned me over to his bed and turned down the television. He agreed to the interview and was happy to impart some words of wisdom. Mr. Wise Man began to tell me his life story. He grew up in this city and in fact was born at this hospital. He gave me a brief history lesson on how he had seen this university hospital and the surrounding area grow over the past 50 years, which he had witnessed. With the exception of a few years of service to our country in the U.S. Army, Mr. Wise Man has lived his entire life within 5 miles from this hospital bed.
Mr. Wise Man then began to tell me the painful story of how he ended up on the ninth floor of this hospital. He had always been an active person, exercising, and trying to eat balanced meals. Then all of a sudden, one day (just about two months before our interaction) he began to have intense abdominal pain and severe constipation. The pain was so excruciating that he felt a visit to the emergency room was warranted.
After a number of emergency room visits and follow up appointments with his primary care physician, he received the news that his white blood cells were “through the roof” and in fact his physician had never seen a number so high. Mr. Wise Man was referred to this hospital for further work-up and treatment options. Mr. Wise Man recounted the shock of receiving the diagnosis of cancer and the painful experience of having gone through the first round of chemotherapy with some tears in his eyes.
Despite all this pain and suffering, Mr. Wise Man felt God had spared his life. He is a man of prayer and great faith in God. Now all Mr. Wise Man wanted to do was spend time with his loved ones at home.
Here are some of Mr. Wise Man’s words of wisdom that I will always remember:
Life is short. Live like everyday is your last. Why waste your day frowning? Smile!
If there is something that you’d like to do, why not go ahead and do it?
Remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed. God has given you today, which is the same 24 hours that everyone else got. Use these hours wisely.
Most importantly, spend some quiet time with Jesus everyday and get to know him through prayer and reading the Holy Bible.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”