Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Love in it's Highest Form / Relationships Post-TBI


I've been absent the last couple of days due to fatigue, preparation for, taking, and recovering from a Neuro-Psych test yesterday (65 miles one way!)  I'm just here on the computer for a few minutes before I go back to bed. 

I have been thinking a lot about relationships post-injury.  I think of my own relationships, the few that survived the fierce, raging storms and the many that did not.

I know for certain we are not the only population in the world who lose spouses, friends, family, co-workers, neighbors along the way.  I would venture to say losing relationships in the storms of life is more the norm, and friends who stay, a rarity.  I say this because in my observations post-injury, the healthy relationships survive anything.  I've often said my relationships now have to be pretty good all on their own because I do not have the energy or ability to do more than my part (even though that part seems dreadfully small to me, it is what it is.)

I wanted to share this next part as it's something that made the rounds in a TBI group I was in years ago and really impacted me.  May this be of encouragement (both author & source unknown):

"In Campus Life a young nurse tells of a patient called Eileen. A cerebral aneurysm had left her with no conscious control over her body. The doctors thought she was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain, unaware of anything going on around her. It was the hospital staff's job to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores, and to feed her twice a day through a stomach tube. 'When it's this bad,' an older nurse told her, 'You have to detach yourself emotionally.'

As a result Eileen came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable. But the young student nurse decided to treat her differently. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, and even brought her little gifts. 

One Thanksgiving Day she said to Eileen, 'It was supposed to be my day off, but I couldn't miss seeing you on Thanksgiving.' Just then the telephone rang. As the nurse turned to answer it she looked quickly back at the patient: 'Eileen was looking at me. crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow.' That was the only human emotion Eileen ever showed. But it was enough to change the attitude of the entire hospital staff toward her.

Not long afterward Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story by saying  
'I keep thinking about her. I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen I might never have known what it's like to give myself to someone who can't give back.'

Love means giving to those who seem to have little or nothing to give back. It challenges the natural or innate selfishness in each of us and goes against our grain. But it's love in its highest form!"

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