The Things That Stay

Posted by Anuj Pandey on Oct 3, 2019
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[A touching story from Nandita shared at last night's Awakin Circle in Santa Clara, on this week's passage: My Neighbor's Corn.]

I loved the story. This is something I think about a lot, and have been thinking about it specifically in the context of my work.

I have the honor of being in a profession that involves helping people. But I've been thinking about how I can touch lives -- not just in an intellectual way (I'm a doctor, so I get to do that intellectually as part of my job), but also at a human level. How to make sure I keep that part alive?

I recently had a very beautiful interaction with a parent that I have to share in this context.

About four months back, I took care of a very sick baby, who tried to die all through the course of the night. It still brings me shivers, thinking about that night.

Through the course of the night, I spoke with a parent -- the mother and the father, but specifically the mother -- at least every two hours, giving them updates, trying to keep them informed, and telling them how sick their baby was and that he'd probably die that night.

It was very hard to do. Before getting in the room, I made a choice that I would be very human about it. So I would go in, she (the mother) would cry, and I would cry with her. I would express my sadness about the situation, but continued to also give her strength, and tell her that I will go back and continue to try my best.

We got through the night, and the baby lived through the night. He actually got much better after that.

When I was leaving in the morning, he was still very critical. He survived the roughest part, but was still very critical.

I was done for my shift and was about to leave, but I wanted to go see them before heading out.

I hugged that mother one last time before leaving, and I really cried. I told her how sad I was about this difficult situation, and how hard this was for them and their baby. I told her I was going to continue to cry about this, and I was going to go home and call my mom and cry about this with her. That I just feel very sad about this.

Just last week, I saw that mother, and the baby is alive and rocking. He's now about 6 months old, and was getting ready to be discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit.

It was interesting when the mother saw me, she hugged me as soon as she saw me. But the one thing she said she remembered from that night was me telling her this -- that I was going to cry, and when I went home I was going to call my mother and cry with her about how sad this situation was. It really touched her.

She said, to her, it made her feel so good that I really cared about her baby. It gave her a lot of peace and a lot of strength to get through the night.

I didn't expect her to remember that. It's so amazing, the things that stay with people. It was such an incredible take away for me. I thought about that, and I would think about that for weeks and months moving forward.

I think if you allow yourself to express that vulnerability and humanity, it really connects with people.

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Comments (5)

  • Ashima wrote ...

    Wow! Such a beautiful moment and sharing! Thank you Nandita for sharing it and thank you Anuj for writing it up!

  • Shyam Gupta wrote ...

    So touching

  • Michaele Premet-Rosen wrote ...

    The power of authentic, open-hearted, caring & sharing 🙏

  • Jane Fryda wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I too work in the NICU with a very different role. I am a chaplain. I think you are correct about vulnerability and humanity being ways to connect with families. People remember authentic connections. Peace!

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