Before she touches the stethoscope to her patient's bare chest Connie, a nurse for 42 years, does something remarkable.
"I have my mother hand and my work hand," she says. "Before I check a heart rate, I always touch the patient first with my mother hand. Then I apply the stethoscope."
Connie knows that her left hand calms the patient. She honors something about her patient's humanity "too fine for speech." She thinks of her left hand as an anchor. She is a gift to the universe of healing as well as to the land of curing.
Radical Loving Care is love beyond love & care beyond care - the extra effort that lifts caregiving from ordinary to extraordinary." Radical Loving Care engages an energy "too fine for speech." It is as indefinable as Love itself.
It takes a moment to find the horizon in my photograph of sea & sky. Arthur O'Leary, my ninth grade English teacher, said that the best opening line in American literature appears in Stephen Crane's short story, "The Open Boat." It reads, "None of them knew the color of the sky."
Shipwrecked himself before he wrote the story Crane found language that suggested the predicament of his crew as they bobbed in the Atlantic, a simple row boat their only refuge.
Great poets use few words. The finest caregivers do the same.
When Connie uses her mother hand she becomes a channel for her patient to feel the wordless touch of Love.
Photograph: "Atlantic Horizon" Erie Chapman (2013)