Friday, February 22, 2008

Luck Be A Lady

Here is a celebrity quiz.

Who is the perkiest celebrity?

A. Rachel Ray
B. Richard Simmons
C. Vanna White
D. Bindi Irwin

I think it's a toss-up between Rachel and Bindi. Imagine both of them on TV at the same time. I suppressed my nausea long enough to be horrified by this interview.

Bindi? The luckiest kid in the world? Didn't her father die a freakish death like a year and a half ago?

Poor kid.

This reminds me of a patient I know. She would not win a perky award. In fact she is surly, sullen, snarky and sarcastic. After a particularly unpleasant encounter I took off my sensitive, defensive, middle-aged woman hat and put on my empathetic, professional nurse hat and had a chat with her.

Using my best nursing school therapeutic communication I asked some open-ended questions about what was happening in her life. She shared with me that everyone around her keeps telling her how lucky she is. No one wants to hear her talk about how devastated she is that she has renal failure. No one will let her express her grief over what she has lost by being on diaysis - her career, her body image, her health, her faith in God.

No. Everyone tells her how lucky she is because she can still walk, that she has a nice house, that her husband is so nice, that her children are healthy. Those things are true but they don't take away the sting of all she has lost. Over time she was getting sick and tired of not one listening to her talk about her loss. No one wanted to let her wonder why God had abandoned her; why this happened to her. No one wanted to let her ponder what she had done to deserve this. Instead they all told her that it's all part of God's plan and she should focus on the good things in her life.

I'm all for positive thinking, and I know her loved ones mean well. It was painful to see this person having to swallow her feelings and deal with her grief alone.

I wish I could say the talk changed things. It didn't. She's still sarcastic and opinionated, but at least she got a few things off her chest.

I wonder when Bindi will be able to get things off her chest. I wonder when somebody will let Bindi say "I'm sick to death of these crocodiles. I want my Daddy back."

I suppose for some people keeping busy is a way of keeping your mind of your troubles. But I wonder whose troubles are being dealt with in this way. Bindi or Bindi's Mom? If it's Mom, okay. Mom, you go ahead and travel the world making the world safe for crocodiles. If this is Bindi's choice and she loves doing it, I'm okay with that.

But let's tone down the sugar-coating a few thousand watts. Crikey. She's giving me diabetes.

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