Recently, the brakes on my fiancée’s car went out. Attempting to maneuver it to a local repair shop, Jeff slowly backed the vehicle up, but this resulted in him pressing hard on the brakes to eventually force the automobile to stop, thus, making a loud screeching noise. Deciding then that it was unsafe to drive to the shop, he attempted to return the vehicle to its original parking spot, but despite slamming the brakes again, the car continued moving forward—traveling over the curb and eventually stopping on the downward slope with its tail hanging in mid-air. At this point, I felt like I was watching a live clip from America’s Funniest Home Videos! After many more efforts, including manual exertion, Jeff eventually returned the car back to its original spot.
Now, as I reflect on this humorous incident, I realize that this can symbolize both what our patients and families experience as well as we as caregivers. For the patient and/or family, they may experience a traumatic event(s) that results in a long-term recovery. Then they progress forward in their healing process for a few days but suddenly code and have a huge setback. This sometimes forces families from the decision to consent for medical interventions to the decision of whether or not to perform comfort measures only. As caregivers, we become frustrated when a patient has done so well and then takes a turn for the worst. We struggle when we do not accomplish the daily goals of care and when the various disciplines start not working together as a team, thus, forming conflicting approaches in the treatment plan.
This “pendulum” cycle can be frustrating, overwhelming, and draining on all parties involved in the medical field. So, where can we go for stability in an unstable world? I would encourage you to pause for a moment, asking God for wisdom on the next steps to pursue. As quoted by my fiancée, Jeff Higgins, “Stopping is as important as going.” Taking a pause can sometimes be as or even more productive than intervening with medical treatments. Though patients, families, and caregivers may feel like they have either lost control or not gained any ground in a difficult situation, may we always remember and believe that there is One Who always maintains control! May we always know that God can take control of the wheel of life and bring peace out of the chaos! Oh, and one last thing, Jeff wants us to know, “Don’t drive a car without brakes!”
Let us pray:
There are many times when we try to direct patient care to result in the outcomes we desire. Help us to surrender the leading to You, for You know what all the patients, families, and staff need at every single moment. Guide us today and everyday.
In Your name we pray, Amen.