One day, I was performing my weekly clinical rotation at the hospital which I am assigned to. My patient for that day had been diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy - basically, the liver had totally failed to the point of near death. The reason? Drinking.
As I finished the physical assessment, my patient turned to me and with sad eyes warned, "Never, ever start drinking." We then began a long discussion regarding the history leading up to the hospital stay. While the nurse came and went, I stayed on, listening to every word spoken. My patient hadn't always been in this condition. Once, they were part of a wonderful family and had a good life ahead of them. But alcohol changed it all. As my patient told me more, my heart wept. But there was really nothing I could do, besides pass the warning on to others.
My patient then brightened as we talked about the potential discharge later that day. Excited at the prospect of seeing the grandkids again, my patient eagerly watched as I took out the IV and prepared everything for their discharge. My patient smiled and thanked me for all my help and for listening.
Simply for listening!
Because that's what people need sometimes. They don't need people to give them medications. They don't need people to tell them what's wrong with them. They don't need people to tell them how they should live their lives. They just need someone to listen. And don't we all?