Searching for the Wisdom to See Challenges in New Ways

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by Ari Anderson |

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could easily put into practice the lessons we learned growing up? We were taught to think about the effects of our decisions, but sometimes it is difficult to know how our actions may affect the lives of other people.

For those of us with physical limitations, our medical and personal lives are especially affected by the decisions of those involved in our care, including home care nurses. Hopefully, the following can offer hope to anyone who has felt let down.

I have been in a staffing crisis since before the pandemic. In the past three years, I have lost over half of my nursing staff for various reasons.

Every aspect of my life goes into a tailspin when a nurse that I interview and train decides not to work on my case. Sometimes they may not see the situation from my angle.

They likely didn’t know I had to cancel that extra breathing treatment I needed just so I could interview them for a job. Sometimes they turn down my case with a call to my nursing agency just five minutes after we talk.

During the pandemic, doing interviews virtually on my computer is great because it’s safe. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating, though, to get turned down.

Sometimes I’ll train a nurse, then they’ll say my case isn’t for them. This is frustrating because I took time away from my legislative advocacy projects, in which I try to convince the state government to keep funding home care services.

But a failed interview or wasted job training is probably just as frustrating for the nurse as it is for me. Maybe, instead of interviewing with me, they could have called their parents who are lonely due to COVID-19. Or maybe, instead of training with me for several days, which didn’t work out, they could have been helping their child study for that make-or-break test coming up. It’s difficult to know how disappointment affects other people’s lives. It’s time I opened my eyes to think about their points of view as well.

If others can’t understand people from all angles, then it is up to us to do so. As the Bible says, opening the eyes of the heart can give you hope and even sympathy for others. It gives you wisdom to see life in new ways.

Sympathy starts with my faith that there are still nurses I haven’t yet interviewed or trained who are willing and able to help. Perhaps their hands are tied right now because of COVID-19; if they are already working in one home, they won’t want to spread the virus by going into another. Thinking in this way gives me faith that when the virus gets under control, more nurses will be freed up.

How do I find hope? Just by looking at my past. As I mentioned in a previous column, I began life in a health crisis and spent my first few years in the hospital. Many nurses stood by me when it looked hopeless.

There have been times recently when staffing also looked hopeless. It has been so hard to find replacement nursing staff before and during the pandemic. Yet, just like the nurses years ago who had hope in me, it’s up to me to have hope in the profession as a whole. Hopefully I will find more staff soon, despite the challenges of the past few years.

These are new ways of looking at things for me, too, and I’m far from perfect. The states of imperfection and emotional pain we all experience can be motivators to soar with hope. As long as we keep searching for solutions and the wisdom to see things in new ways, we will soar.

Let’s keep finding this special type of wisdom together.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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