Trust in What?

My most memorable experience with “helping” a dying patient was when I was a paramedic. We responded to a call around 10 p.m. in one of the so-called “projects”. As we entered the front door, we saw an elderly black man, late 70s or early 80s, lying motionless on a hospital bed in the living room. His family was gathered around him, heads bowed and weeping softly.

His wife explained that he had a long bout with cancer and had been recently sent home from the hospital. Several attempts were made, but the patient was unresponsive to verbal or painful stimuli.

When we contacted the man’s physician on the phone, we were told that his body was riddled with cancer and that there was nothing more that could be done for him at the hospital. The MD stated that the family agreed to let him die in peace at home, but, apparently, they weren’t as prepared for that event as they thought.  The doctor instructed us to transport the man to the hospital so that he could die there, and added, “No heroics” (i.e., no IV, no oxygen, no monitor, no CPR, no lights and sirens).

The patient remained totally unresponsive while we transferred him from the bed onto our stretcher, and was not aroused at all as we rolled the stretcher over the bumpy ground out to the ambulance, lifted him into the back, locked the stretcher in place, and closed the back doors. I rode in the back with him while my partner drove at normal speed.

I continued my attempts to stimulate him by calling his name several times, jostling him from left to right, and gently pressing a knuckle into his sternum (that normally hurts a LOT). Still no response. I sat back and began to write my run report, documenting the night’s events. I looked up for a second and saw him lying motionless on the stretcher in front of me and thought, “This man is dying.” I realized my run report could wait until after our arrival at the hospital.

That’s when something deep within me said, “He’s not responding to words or pain. I wonder if he’ll respond to love.” I placed the paperwork next to me on the bench, leaned forward, picked up his hand and held it in mine. With my very next inhalation, I focused on the primordial vibration within me and FELT the gratitude for the precious Gift of Life flowing through my body. At that exact MOMENT, the man opened his eyes, slowly turned his head towards me, looked into my eyes and smiled. He then closed his eyes, and died.

I wasn’t saddened, I was humbled. I felt grateful and fortunate that I was “used” to comfort and assist this man during his transition from this life to whatever happens next.

People who are dying are spiritually attuned, and their need is for that to be validated. My patient was oblivious to verbal and painful stimuli. But, somehow, he was awakened by an unseen force that can only be FELT. Although no words were exchanged, there is no doubt that his smile was his way of saying “Thank you.” It was as if he was waiting for that affirmation of Love, God, Truth – whatever you want to call it – before leaving his body.

This one incident was a gentle, yet powerful, reminder to trust in the ONLY thing that is worthy of our trust: The one Love that connects us all.

 

Leave a Reply


Available

Search This Site