Over last four weeks, I went through three context and care situation changes, each of which was a learning in itself, at the same time a privilege.
The first, which I had the privilege to be part of for the last one year or more. Facilitating care in the context of the hospital where I am currently placed. Being part of the group of young enthusiastic junior doctors and consultants, (though I am not young chronologically!) supporting the team in facilitating care has been a great privilege. Such a facilitation is more of disengaged caring, where one is not actively engaged with hands on care, but more supporting others to provide care. Engagement is with the care providers than the person who receives care, and to see lives being touched, by the care provided has been a great privilege. It is not always easy, but in the midst of the various challenges, I am constantly surprised how the sovereign unseen hands are working despite our challenged paradigms of thinking! I did not realise that this was such a privilege, till recently when due to circumstances I had to be away for four weeks. And I started missing this privilege – a lesson that only when what you have is taken away, you start recognising how privileged you have been, to be given the opportunity to be part of such a context.
The second, where I had to move into being a hands on care provider for 2 weeks. When my father went through a life limiting illness and context, which finally ended up with his demise 12 days back, it was at the end of 2 weeks of hands on caring that he moved on. Unlike the former, this was a hands on fully engaged, emotionally challenging care provision for all of us in the family. I did not “enjoy this” much, not because I did not want to care, but caring for your own family, where your emotions are involved, for a professional care facilitator and provider is not easy. You are trained to be a detached care provider! You prefer some else to be at the forefront so that you can be emotionally in a better state! But that is not what happened, I had to be engaged physically and emotionally. But in the aftermath of such intense 2 weeks of caring and his passing on, I heard from many, what a privilege it would have been for your father to be cared for by the family. What a privilege it is for you as a family to be caring for you parents. And over next few days as emotions stabilised, we started realising, though tough, it had been a great privilege to be engaged in caring for your own, till he passed on, instead of handing care over to professionals in the cordoned off ICUs and HDUs.
Last 5 days has been in a context, where I have been the receiver of care. I have been an engaged/non-engaged (neutral) bystander of care being provided for my wife who has undergone a surgical procedure. The larger family and friends have been around providing surgical, medical, physical, emotional and spiritual care. I realised that to be the receiver of care itself is not easy. I want to provide and facilitate as usual, but here I am expected to receive. We are trained to provide and facilitate care and not the other way around! But it has been a privilege to go through this, where one is humbled by many who selflessly spend themselves for you, though there is no “obligation” for them to do so. To receive and to be in a position to give opportunity to for others to care for you is again a privilege.
So whether it is facilitating and supporting care, providing or receiving care, all are privileges. But the ability to be intentionally engaged, whether it is “facilitating” “providing” or “receiving” and whoever may be the provider or receiver, is the ability I need to cultivate….