Oftentimes, I encounter patients who are angry when they enter the emergency department because other doctors have not given them proper attention or helped them feel better. I might say to myself, “Who are you being that your health and well-being do not seemingly matter to these doctors?” My impression of these patients is that they portray an air of self-destruction. Doctors are more inclined to help those who help themselves. Victims protest the situation, disrupt the department and are quickly dismissed. Victors resign to their ailments, persist in understanding and gain insight. Lives seem to matter through profound wisdom, self-confidence and personal integrity.
In general, humanity recognizes that all lives matter, while many special interest groups tend to be selective and divisive. The feeling of discrimination works both ways when one person points a finger at another through righteous cause and militant separatism. This naturally creates more of a competitive society that can easily erupt in violence. I care for dying patients who generally feel like their lives no longer matter and accept worthless medical treatment as a consequence. Death does not discriminate, yet many people choose to become victimized by its selection process. These incidents sadden me, yet inspire me to question how dying lives matter.
I resolve that lives matter through impressions left on others that reflect self-validation. These individuals tend to seek the middle ground from which to reach agreement and affinity while confronting oppressive situations. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder who might envision the bigger picture, personified through the following attributes of good patients:
Lives matter through personal well-being rather than on attacks against the healthcare system. The inaugural words of John F. Kennedy proposed, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This provocation shifts the focus from how people are treated to how lives matter. Demonstrations that combat the ills in society are most effective when they appear as acts of kindness and mercy rather than incidents of bad behavior.
I spent most of my adult years in Missouri, the Show Me State. Don’t tell me how lives matter, show me how lives matter. I consciously wrote Wishes To Die For as the show me guide to how Advance Care Directives become spiritual proclamations for dying lives matter and deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity. My book essentially channels the examination of good conscience through the heart’s desire to attain peace and harmony. True introspection of how lives matter occurs when spirituality intercedes with humanity, resulting in a reconcilable justice that is both self-serving and self-evident.