As a meal time volunteer, I must clean all the patient’s tables before they eat. This is to make sure they are eating in a clean and hygienic environment. Half way through cleaning the tables, i came across a woman sitting in her chair that was beside her bed. I politely asked how she was and before she could answer she became quite distressed and tearful.
I knelt beside her and asked her what was the matter. She simply replied “I’m lonely.” I offered her a tissue and I poured her some water. She explained to me how she is so anxious about going back home because she cannot stand being alone. We spoke for over an hour and it became quite clear that she felt that she was a burden to society and she was too afraid to ask for help. I explained to her that she doesn’t have to be alone, and there is a lot of measures that can help her. When I left she was happy. On the journey home I reflected on my experience.
I learned the true meaning of communication. I did a quick search to find the meaning of the term “communication” . It states “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium” This might be the definition but in practise it is nothing like that! It’s about understanding and empathising with the person you are conversing with. It is about understand and engaging with the content as well as showing a real interest in what they have to say. I keep thinking what if I never asked the woman how she was feeling. She would have simply kept her anxiety inside her.
Letting it eat away.