:: to the teeth ::   thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Angels and Children
Hanging from the light in my exam room is a "flying angel" made of wood. Most people don't look up much, and if adults have noticed it, they haven't said anything. It's there as a message to spiritual and religious people to let them know they and their beliefs are welcome in the clinic, that we honor angels and mystery, of all kinds.
Twice now children have noticed the angel and have had really funny reactions.
One was a 2 year old who was playing with his mom's keys. He looked up, saw the angel, dropped the keys while his mouth opened wide in joy, and he just smiled the biggest smile i've ever seen on a two year old. He started jumping up and down pointing to the angel. The visit was about to end but he didn't want to leave so his mom picked him up and let him touch the angel, which seemed to calm him down.
Last week a four year old girl was hanging out during the visit with her mom. She was sitting on the floor and when she looked up she saw the angel and jumped to her feet and put her arms out like she was flying. She kept repeating, "un angel, un angel," while smiling and laughing.
It's not a usual part of a clinic, most docs shy away from expressing spiritual beliefs. I've felt it to be an essential part of creating my practice. I don't claim any particular religion although I have a fancy for the Quakers approach to god and life. If only I could sit still for an hour i'd probably go to more of their circles. In the clinic, we all stay neutral, to be sure. There are alot of Mexican symbols, the Virgin Mary adorns the wall. With 80% Mexican patients, that seems relatively appropriate. But even so, we welcome Catholic, Evangelical, Traditional, Atheist, etc patients. I'm not sure what all the fuss is all about, I haven't had a conversation with other docs in quite a while about this but it seems that people are simply afraid to express their beliefs.
I'd love to hear other people's opinions on spirituality and religion in medicine.
posted by andru | 11/05/2006 08:41:00 PM | |