Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Magic of Excellent

I might be looking at this all wrong.
It doesn't get more excellent than this

Robert can be lying in the emergency room with, at times, four people trying to find a vein and when asked how he is feeling his reply is always the same: “I feel excellent.”

The doctor or nurse asking the question will glance at me and I will explain, in a wringing-of-hands kind of way, that “Robert is a terrible self-reporter.”

Robert has had a lot of dental work lately - new crowns put in as well as a few fillings. When the dentist asks him how the new handiwork feels so he can make any adjustments, Robert replies, “It feels excellent.”

Shaking my head, I explain that “Robert is a terrible self-reporter.”

I feel for the dentist who has to guess if Robert’s new crown is comfortable and for the doctor who is working to figure out Robert’s source of infection and high fever. I struggle with how to decipher how Robert is really feeling. Sure, he says he is excellent but what is he really feeling?

Well what if I am looking at this all wrong?

What if Robert really is feeling excellent? 

Maybe he isn’t a terrible self-reporter at all but has an incredible knack for feeling pretty excellent under just about every circumstance. 

Oh my gosh! What if Robert really does feel excellent?! 

As crazy as this sounds, this idea never occurred to me before.  I dismiss his self-proclamation of excellence in the face of “facts.”

Of course he doesn’t feel excellent – he has pneumonia (or bronchitis or is on a new medication).

Of course his crown doesn’t feel excellent on the first try – that’s impossible.

How could he feel so excellent?  It just doesn’t make sense.

This realization, this possibility that Robert really does feel excellent when he says he does, makes me see caring for him in a whole new light.  Robert is not easily rattled.  Sure, his medication makes him cranky and irritable and the puppy gets on his nerves but he still will tell me he feels excellent. Who is to say he doesn’t?

Why should I believe anything different?

Maybe if Robert really and truly feels excellent then I can lighten up a little bit.  Maybe I don’t have to work myself into a frenzy to guarantee Robert’s happiness. 

Maybe I can let go and trust that he’s got that covered. 

Maybe I can believe in the magic of excellent too. 

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