It was 2012. It seemed that I was on top of my game. I was healthy and fit, with a beautiful family. I loved my wife and children, had great relationships and was surrounded by good friends. I was successful in my profession with impeccable reputation and comfortable earnings. But there was something missing in my life. I didn’t feel content. Everyday felt like yesterday. It felt like I was losing my energy, my zest, my enthusiasm. I was not depressed at all but I thought there should be something beyond ordinary in life, something more meaningful to make me feel alive again. Then I remembered the time that I was taking care of my grandfather during the last few months of his life. My grandfather was an incredible man, tall, thin, decisive, confident, bossy and stubborn, yet kind and extremely respected by others. He had three daughters, one of them my mom, two sons and lots of grandchildren. Out of all his grandchildren he loved me the most. It was not one of those unconditional love with humor, comfort, hugs and kisses, but mostly with appreciation and mutual respect. At the last few months of his life he suffered progressive dementia and gradually lost his memory, continence and ability to walk. So I volunteered to take care of him every fourth night. It was an all-night job to protect him from falling, cleaning his face and body frequently, changing his diaper and catering to him. It was emotionally and physically exhausting for an 18 year-old teenager. But on the contrary, I felt free, light, liberated, and peaceful, with tons of energy and contentment. I felt alive and vibrant.
That was an incredible and unforgettable experience. I realized to have a full life you must have them all, the personal pleasure, health, relationships, achievements and most important of all “meaning”. Helping others for a cause beyond and bigger than yourself. In fact helping others and seeing their smile and appreciation, makes you feel more content than any other means. I also discovered that my profession is a remarkable platform with all the required recipes to reach this magical oasis for a full life with long lasting fulfillment. It`s a profession with strong values and purpose that requires mastery, strong relationships and team work. It is all about giving and helping others to relieve their pain and sufferings, and to help them to recover from their illnesses and return them to the society and their love ones.
My Vision “New health care system arrived”
In November 2013, in the midst of all, life threw me an overwhelming challenge. My son developed an illness that required eight surgeries by three surgeons in four hospitals over a period of fourteen months. He suffered significant emotional and physical pain. There were so many dark days with fear, uncertainty and despair, so many setbacks and roadblocks. My family and I were part of this unpleasant experience and had to endure these darkest days of our lives. During that period I experienced medicine from the patient`s perspective and at times witnessed injustice, impersonal care, ignorance and lack of humanity in our health care. I also witnessed and experienced sparks of compassion, care, and kindness which gave us hope to withstand the misery of pain, fear and uncertainty. Now that he has completely healed, the only memories that stand out in our mind are the ones filled with the essence of humanity. The health professionals that had compassion, care and kindness, who strived to give us hope, helped us to endure those difficult times and assist us to overcome the illness.
My experience and feeling.
This experience brought all the elements together. It felt like everything fell into their places. I was able to connect the dots and figure out that everything is somehow interconnected. A full life requires engagement, mastery, relationships, and meaning to help others, but it all means something when you create the connection, trust and loyalty with the patients and their families. The feeling of fulfillment comes from creating an amazing experience of humanity in patients, seeing their smiles and happiness, their sense of gratefulness, appreciation and affirmation of the very existence of compassion, care and kindness. In this magical oasis of humanity, all of us have the ability to thrive and flourish towards a “full life”.