The nurses grew impatient with an elderly patient's incessant questioning, until his daughter had a talk with them. She pointed out that he had always been a healthy man, but today - just two hours earlier - he had received a life-altering diagnosis. She explained that his fear was enhancing his difficulty with social interactions. She conceded that her father could be difficult, but asked that - under the circumstances - the nurses exercise greater patience and understanding. Once this young lady enlightened them to her father's situation - a life-threatening diagnosis requiring surgery - the nurses changed their attitude and responded graciously to this frightened patient.
This situation made me think of two questions. The first is, why did a family member have to explain to the medical professionals in charge of this man's care how unexpected and scary medical news was impacting the patient's psychological responses? The medical professionals should have been explaining those interactions to the patient and his family.
The second question is more universal. Why do we need a reason to be compassionate? The truth is, all difficult people have a story. Our patience and understanding can allow them to begin writing a new chapter. Gordon Ramsey's show, Kitchen Nightmares, showcases how lives can be changed when someone takes the time to see the potential behind the difficult personality. Whose life will you change this week?