Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Calm amidst chaos. When I heard that phrase today, it stuck in the little cobwebby corners of my grey matter.
Since then, it’s been rolling around, breaking through some of those sticky strands.
Given that I’m writing this article today, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I can’t envision any calm amidst the chaos of that day, or the days immediately following it.
The heroes who helped, the heroes on-site, the ones in the hospitals – they likely didn’t feel any more calm than the victims or their loved ones felt. But I’m betting that if any calm was found that day, it might have been felt by the injured who were in the arms of, or under the gaze of, any of the emergency workers, including nurses, doctors, paramedics or any other healthcare professionals.
Maybe it comes naturally to some, maybe it’s in the educational training, but healthcare professionals seem to exude a certain calm in any storm, on or off the job. Lucky for the rest of us whose days might deteriorate at the mere sight of a torn fingernail.
While it’s in no way the same scale or significance of event, I would say that most of us experience individual shakeups that might feel like our own mini 9/11. Most often, our biggest shakeups involve sudden health crises of our own or of a loved one.
At those times, our world is unexpectedly rocked. We don’t know what’s going on anymore. What our calendars showed as priorities, no longer are. The world we thought we knew is wiped away and replaced with the unknown. Lots of unknowns. More question marks than answers.
What happened, and why? How do we fix it and recover? Or do we? Who needs to be involved? Where do we go from here? How much time will it take? What does the future look like – and can I get a guarantee with that?
In the meantime, in the haze, we’re left wondering if it’s the left foot or the right foot that takes the next step.
If we’re fortunate, we have family or friends whose presence can be calming. Often times, though, they’re struggling with the same issues we are. It’s hard to lean on a pillar if the pillar itself is leaning.
The ones not leaning are strangers: those strangers who take care of us when we can not, who guide us through unknown territory, who lend some calming compassion to an otherwise objective frame of mind.
It’s the calm we need when the terrain around us changed without our permission. We need a little guidance around the newfound stones, rocks and boulders in our path.
We lean on you, our healthcare professionals. We might have only met, but it’s your strength and calm that keeps us navigating through the fog.
Our individual, private catastrophic events are ones you see every day. They don’t throw you off as they do us. If they do, you’re a master at disguising it. And the Oscar goes to…YOU!
I long ago lost count of how many healthcare professionals calmed me during my own health crises or those of loved ones. Repeatedly, you’re there, offering calming reassurance, even in the face of unknown or fatal outcomes.
If only for an instant, you make me believe I’ll be ok, no matter the outcome.
Reprinted with kind permission from www.NurseTogether.com.