Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The World of Learning

ICU night's rest for family member who stayed
by the patient's bedside all night.
The past three days threw me a giant curve ball.  While I expected to be enjoying a relative's safe return from a trip abroad, instead I was thrust into the world of infectious disease and hospital care.

My relative returned with a severe illness which landed him in the emergency room and ICU of a nearby teaching hospital.  As I offered support during the past three days, I have been amazed by what I've learned from this experience--lessons I don't want to forget:

  • First and foremost, when it comes to overseas travel, anticipate the health concerns by educating yourself and taking precautions!
  • Good medical care is invaluable, and my relative has had the best care I can imagine.  
  • Systems Matter: I am so grateful to the teams of doctors, nurses and hospital staff who have cared for him second to second.  We discuss life long learning, flexibility, response, teamwork, apt systems and communication when it comes to education, and at this hospital I saw all of that working to save a life--amazing and humbling at the same time.
  • The tools available for learning are incredible.  Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to understand my relative's condition somewhat which has helped me to ask good questions, anticipate his needs and understand the complex information doctors and nurses from all areas of the medical spectrum are sharing.
Just in the past few hours, my relative took a turn for the better.  We are very hopeful for his safe recovery, and that's why I'm able to write.  I hope I can take the valuable lessons I've learned during this traumatic event and apply them to the work I do each day with young children.  And finally, the perennial lesson, life's challenges and heartache make us appreciate the good times and good people in our lives--seize the day and make the time for an extra glance, hug, smile, conversation and time well spent with those you love.  

Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage," and we all know that All the world's a teacher too.