Today’s article is another installment in Brother P.’s column, “Lessons From the Nursing Home.”
I walk people in a nursing home for a living. They often come to my facility after a trip to the hospital where they may have had a condition or surgery leading to the inability to walk.
This one young guy had a stroke — let me just interject: say no to drugs — and he could hardly use his left leg, left arm, hardly talk, hardly understand, but he could follow simple, one-step directions.
I went to his room to bring him down to our little gym, and he was sitting in the wheelchair watching TV. I noticed that he had his TV remote in his hand. I asked if I could take it, and he did not respond, which is normal for him, as he cannot talk much and has long delays prior to initiating his verbalizations. So, I tried to remove his remote from his hand, but he would not let go.
I did not believe that he really wanted to keep his remote while working on walking, so I used multiple different strategies to get it out of his hand. (Sometimes folks with strokes have a hard time actually releasing their grasp.) But it quickly became apparent that he did not want to let go of the remote.
So, I took him to the gym, set him up in the parallel bars, with him clutching the remote the whole way. We stood and took a few steps, which takes a long time, and during that time, another staff member came in and saw the remote. Thinking that it was an oversight on my part, he spent the better part of two minutes trying to get the patient to release the remote. It became clear to him, as well, that the remote wasn’t going anywhere.
This situation gave me an idea. You’ve heard it said that nobody gets to the end of life and thinks, “I wish I would have worked more.” I wonder if it’s the same that nobody gets to the end of life and thinks, “I wish I would have watched the next season of ‘Game of Thrones’ or more episodes of ‘The Bachelor.'”
I wonder if God is trying to pry the remote out of our hands in order to work on something more important.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
This is a really interesting. That remote can actually represent a lot of things that we try to hold onto. Great analogy! No doubt you truly are a blessing to many of the people at your Nursing Home. God bless you much!