Sunday, October 31, 2010


I had a patient last week who came on a gurney. This is odd, since I work in a clinic and people are usually ambulatory. But, after my nurse told the ambulance drivers to wait in the waiting room, I went in to see the patient.

He was mid-60s with a history of high blood pressure. I had read in his chart that he had both legs amputated due to some sort of chronic wounds. I skimmed over an operating room report that mentioned a hip disarticulation - where the leg was removed completely from the hip socket. That's a pretty disfiguring operation, but one I've seen before. What I didn't read, but noticed immediately when I walked into the room, was that both hips had been disarticulated. The man was lying on his stomach, propped up on his elbows. He had long hair and a beard, like the pictures of Jesus always show. He was just a torso and pelvis. I blinked and went to the computer, smiled and introduced myself.

We had a wonderful visit, he is quite funny and talked a lot about his various art projects. He has a piece in a museum - as a part of the permanent exhibit! Quite exceptional.

He said he would probably be depressed if he just sat and looked out the same window all day. Instead, he taught himself wood whittling, knitting, and other arts and crafts. He has friends that peddle them at various festivals and fairs around town. He gets asked to show his work in art exhibits around the country. I was amazed - he's very talented, and it's always inspiring to talk to someone about their work. But, more than that, he didn't let his limited mobility make him hopeless. He recognizes what he can't do. He said he wished he were able to get around more freely. But, he also said that he wasn't going to let that stop him from doing what he likes to do.

He showed me how life is all about perspective. You might not always be able to dictate your situation or circumstances, but how you respond to them is always within your control.


Robyn said...

Yep it's all in the mind.

Lovely post.

christian girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

like. :)

Erin said...

Hey Erica, could you please e-mail me your address? I am trying to actually get Christmas cards out this year!:) e-mail is