Two Lessons Learned in the Hospital
Lesson 1: Let go
In the spring of 2011, my 6-year old got a rash that looked bad enough to land him in the hospital. He kept itching and scratching it, which was making things worse.
For days straight I stayed by his side, trying to distract him and physically keep him from itching. It worked really well.
On the 4th night, I started falling asleep.
It was like medieval torture: just as I fell asleep, I’d hear my son move in his sleep, so I’d jumped up to tuck him in and hold his hands. Then, I dozed off again, only to jump up again a few minutes later.
At 2 a.m. a doctor came in to check on my son.
She looked at me and said: “You need to go to sleep”. (I was 7 months pregnant at the time, and with everything going on, I must have looked dreadful.)
“How could I keep my son safe if I am asleep?!” – I objected.
She replied: “You need to let go now. And if your son scratches and makes things worse, we’ll deal with it then.”
And so, I let go of my son’s hands, and fell asleep.
Somehow, in the morning, everything was better. Everything.
If you let go of something physically and mentally, what is the worst thing that can happen? And if the worst thing does happen, you can ask yourself two things: “So what?”, and “How can I deal with it now?”
If you are already holding on really tightly, and you still feel really bad, there is a good chance that when you let go, things won’t get much worse.
Lesson 2: Feel like the luckiest person on earth.
When my son got his first hospital breakfast, his eyes widened. “WOW! This is SO COOL!”- he kept saying, as he was opening one small container after another. “I LOVE hospital food! I’m so lucky!” Yes, he did say this verbatim.
He loved the fact that he got to “order” his food a night before. He loved having food come in small containers. He loved the variety of items on his tray. He loved getting both milk and apple juice in one meal.
Just a couple of hours earlier, we watched a gorgeous sunrise over New York City out of the hospital window. How often do you get to watch a sunrise with your child?
Between watching the sunrise, having breakfast and watching morning cartoons, my son was completely overjoyed by all the beautiful things that have happened to him, short of the rash.
Do you want to feel like the luckiest person on earth, and be overwhelmed with joy on regular basis?
Allow yourself to notice small delicious things that happen to you all the time.
Aren’t you the luckiest person on earth for getting a seat on your morning commute?
Does your cup of coffee taste amazing? (And if it doesn’t, can you get a different one?)
Do you happen to bring an umbrella with you on a rainy day? (If not, can you get one?).
Everyone can feel like the luckiest person on earth if we look at life simply moment to moment.
P.S.: Just in case you are worried, my son is completely fine. The whole thing turned out to be a non-event, and is now ancient history.