Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hopeful and hopeless

I saw a young man recently come into the ER with full blown AIDS. He had declined the best medical therapy once he got HIV believing somehow he could whip it all on his own by living a healthy lifestyle... eating his vegetables or something like that. Now he has several opportunistic infections and he looked unbelievably miserable. He asked me after we talked (although I could barely hear or understand him), "Are you going to be doing this after residency?" and I said no. He said, "You should. You're good at it. These other people make me feel terrible." I was most certainly NOT good at it. This is one of only a handful of AIDS patients I had ever seen. But I realized what he meant was that unlike the other ER staff (and regrettably, my senior resident as well), I wasn't treating him like a freak. Later he said reflectively as I was filling out paperwork, "I'm a bad person aren't I?"

This experience had sort of a strange effect on me. It made me feel so hopeless. Hopeless about the healthcare system. Hopeless about the ignorance people have regarding gays. Hopeless about people that I usually work so hard to believe the best about. It's also a feeling that hits me every time I read an editorial lambasting religions as categorically intolerant, which seems to be happening with increasing frequency. It's a hopelessness that just hits me when people insist on being stupid even when I feel they've been given ample opportunity to widen their understanding.

The second step in 12 steps is based on hope. I haven't really worked my way up to that point yet (yes, at this rate I will reach step 12 when I'm about 147 years old). But it occurs to me that I am quite hopeful regarding myself and my own progress--and shouldn't that matter most? Why should I let ignorance and bigotry from conservatives and liberals alike interrupt my personal progress and peace? Well. I guess I'll just keep trying to have hope on both levels--personal and societal.


Samantha said...

Have hope...I've lived longer, and I've seen change within my lifetime. Someday, (maybe when you're 147) things WILL be different.

Christ understands our longings and our sadness. That is true for those who live a homosexual lifestyle, and those who look for answers outside of it. And He loves us all.

Change will happen. Keep hoping.

Beck said...

The message of the Gospel is the message of HOPE.

"And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." -- Moroni 7:41.

I just couldn't resist quoting a favorite scripture. I 'hope' you don't mind.

Together we can keep hoping...

-L- said...

Thank you both for your kind encouragement. Beck, I love to hear scripture (far from minding!).

Your comments are very welcome and appreciated.