They say if you don’t learn the lesson, it keeps returning until you do. Returns are a mixed blessing. I am having one of them as I write from the Cleveland Clinic.
For those of you who were not following my blog a year ago, my husband, Paul, had a Mitral Valve repair here. While ultimately successful, it nearly cost him his life – twice. Thanks to his excellent surgeon, today he is having his one-year post-surgical check-up.
While I feel optimistic, I’m having déjà vu around every corner: The 6-hour wait when everyone else had already been called to their loved ones before I heard from his medical team; Paul’s shaky start in recovery with heart fibrillations, then his predictable exhaustion after both robotic surgery and then a Sternotomy; resistance to getting out of bed and walking and almost fainting when he did; his starched white face, a midnight visit to the emergency room, etc. These and other memories rush back. Yet he—and I – survived! Returning here both revives and releases some of these memories.
Life gives us many chances to heal. The Cleveland Clinic is dedicated to premium care for every individual, from the sickest patients and their families, to the doctors, nurses, and support staff. This is best indicated by the name tags worn by every employee, that say “Patients First”, and/or “Caregiver.” Reike and chair massages are standard offerings to patients and their families. Religious counsel is also available. Mind, body and spirit are all included, as they should be in any hospital. Wholeness includes all three. Many hospitals talk about these things but from what I’ve heard, few live up to the standards of the Cleveland Clinic in embedding these practices into their culture.
In 1983 I founded the Institute for the Advancement of Health to promote scientific understanding of mind/body interactions in health and disease, which back then was a radical concept. Thankfully, today it’s become almost universally accepted. I was fortunate to recruit a science advisory board including many pioneers in what became known as the mind/body/health field. We published its first journal, called “Advances.”
I am inspired by the visionary leadership of the Cleveland Clinic’s CEO, Toby Cosgrove, MD, and by how far health care has come since the 1980s. Even with medical insurance still in flux, we have made great strides in awareness of what contributes to healing.
Returning to the Cleveland Clinic, I see broad evidence of the extraordinary advances in medical treatment, and of human caring and compassion. Today we know that both are necessary for the best outcomes. Returning here provided proof of Paul’s recovery and an opportunity for me, as his caregiver, to heal as well.
P.S. He got a clean bill of health!
What places have you returned to that helped you heal, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually?