Editor's Commentary on 'Holy Space'
August 08, 2014
I remember the first time I set foot in a hospital as a pre-medical student, earnestly volunteering in the hopes of proving my devotion to the field of medicine. The harsh lighting and stinging sterile smells made me immediately light-headed. It was a long time – well into my clinical rotations of medical school - before I could walk along a hospital corridor without feeling vaguely nauseous.
Yet I acclimated. And in doing so, I lost the memory of, and easy empathy for, others who suffer the same discomfort each time they set foot in what is now my place of business and second home.
When was the last time you thought about, talked about, did something about, the discomfort that so many patients feel in even showing up at the places where we deliver health care, let alone baring their bodies and souls in the way that we ask? When was the last time you entered your patient’s space, met her in the place she was most comfortable – the most herself – where she could show you the things she could not tell you and you could understand her best? For me, it has been a long time, but Ms. Prioleau’s Holy Space reminds us that, for the therapeutic relationship, for our patients, for ourselves, such a trip can be transcendent.