I believe a kind act can greatly impact the life of another.
I was 19 years old when I first learned the lesson that different realities exist for people at the same moment in time. I was a passenger in a limousine traveling behind a hearse, which was carrying my mom to the cemetery, and it was around noon. She died from liver cancer. As we rode along, I watched the busy lunch traffic existing while I was going to bury my mother. My reality was vastly different than someone else’s at that moment in time.
I am a pharmacist, so I try to remember that someone’s illness is why I have a job. I take my job very seriously, and diligently work to ensure proper therapeutics for the patients I care for. While I work, do my daily activities in other words, people are in the hospital possibly fighting for their lives. At the same moment, their reality is very different than mine.
As I left the hospital one afternoon, I saw a man in a wheelchair struggling up the slight incline towards the hospital door. I asked if he would mind that I push him the rest of the way. As I took control of his chair, he began to massage his cramping forearm and explained he was unaccustomed to a wheelchair and using his arms to help him move. I was reminded that my ordinary reality that afternoon was starkly different than his. I was with him for less than a minute.
As I walk through the hospital hallways, I see exhausted families surviving the rollercoaster of life as they watch a loved one try to recover. I see people in wheel chairs adapting to their new lifestyle without the use of their legs. As I walk to the parking lot, I see the life flight helicopter arriving with one more person critically injured. I see the life changing events in peoples’ lives all day long as I exist from one moment to the next.
My practice as a pharmacist impacts the care of my patients. How I treat people also affects their reality. I try to remember that a moment out of my life, a smile in the hallway, holding the door for someone, or letting them go in front of me in the cafeteria can make a big difference in someone’s reality. In other words, such little effort on my part can make someone else feel more cared for, acknowledged, and loved. Perhaps my presence makes only a little difference, but even the smallest amount can be worthy during a difficult time in someone’s life.
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