During one of my shifts, I was assigned to visit some patients in Peyton Manning’s Hospital. Upon entering one room, I observed what appeared to be a physical therapist, for she was wearing the dark teal scrubs and repeatedly moving the one year-old child’s legs in a bending motion. The little girl’s hands were curled inward toward her arms, and her elbows and legs appeared swollen and pretty well straight—what all appeared to be the same disability I have. Verifying this with the therapist who was currently working the child, I decided to make a follow-up visit when the family was there.
Later that day, when I saw others visiting, I met the family and offered them support. Near the end of this pastoral interaction, though, I asked the parents and grandparents, “Does she have arthrogryposis?”
Surprised by my correct recognition of this diagnosis, the mother responded hesitantly, “Yessss?”
“I thought so. That’s what I have,” I replied affirmatively.
Immediately, the family pulled up a chair, asking me questions about living with this disability and the medical complications I faced.
It is in these moments of personal connection with patients and families where we as associates can travel intimately alongside those facing a difficult journey, having a deeper understanding and appreciation of their perspective for the trials they are facing.
Gracious God, help us to connect better and truly empathize with those in our care. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.