You Can’t Imagine Change of Character
You can CAT scan a broken bone or a diverticula. You can scope a cardiac vessel in real time and watch the blood flow. But a change of character-from helpless to hopeful, from addict to recovery, from smoker to non, from overwhelmed with chronic pain to a person who copes well-is something that nurses know exist but which we cannot measure. Character, how you act on a long term basis, is the part of your personality that is most difficult to change.
In this day of evidenced based medicine, which I fully support by the way, measurement is supreme. Yet a change in a person's character is something that that only causes wonder. I can tell you some of the events that make change of character possible such as:
- When someone realizes that they need to change their behavior or die
- When a compassionate health care provider asks the right question at the right time
- When a person finally experiences a little bit of success in making an improvement
- When a person finally gets tired of living the way they do.
Yet for every event that may promote a change of character in one person it will have no effect on 10 others. I suppose if I could predict such a change I could just as easily learn how to put this change in a bottle and sell it in Walgreens for $1 a pill taken by mouth.
Yet in the last week of my practice a women who has struggled with obesity celebrated losing 10 pounds, an alcoholic went to treatment, a patient with high blood pressure is taking all her meds on time and giving up smoking. Their character changed. And though I was, by their own report, instrumental in their character change, I would not have predicted that it would have been them to undergo this change.
I used to wrack by brains to get some scientific explanation of these changes of character. I never even came close. I guess a person's character is rooted in something unscientific like their spirit and not their brain. Maybe some changes are not measurable.
So I guess I can only try and do what I usually do and enjoy the ride. All in all not a bad gig.