More than a decade ago, my daughter was seriously injured in a traffic accident in western North Carolina. She, her beloved dog Millie and stepsister Lauren were broadsided by a small bus and she was trapped in the overturned vehicle for too long until she would be safely removed by EMTs.
Her dog and her step-sister were uninjured, but my daughter suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, along with other less-serious injuries. She was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where she was admitted into intensive care.
Her recovery was slow and painful, but steady. Despite assurances from all of her family members, my daughter was convinced that Millie had died in the accident, and she was inconsolable. Midway through the third day of her recovery, the ICU nurses told my daughter they were moving her to a regular room, and pushed the bed with all its attachments down the hallway and into an elevator. We had no idea where she was going, but followed along.
The nurse pushed the lobby button and down we went, into the main lobby of the hotel, where another nurse waited with a smile and an excited Millie, whose tail was wagging wildly. My daughter was ecstatic and relieved, and she was able to pet Millie’s head and slobbery mouth.
It was that moment that her healing really began.
As we deal with patients of all types, providing services of all sorts, it’s important to remember the healing power of compassion.