Our supportive Twitter group lost a wonderful person earlier this month. Her name was Amy. No last name was listed in her bio, but most of us knew Amy by her user name*. She was such a shining light, and I am grateful I knew her even though it was for such a short time. Amy had lupus along with other health problems, but she was young and death wasn’t on her short list.
Apparently, Amy was recuperating from emergency surgery in the hospital. The surgery seemed to have involved her stomach (this is what I could piece together by going back and reading the last bunch of tweets from her timeline). Knowing Amy through past tweets, it must have been difficult being in the hospital without access to her favorite foods. I loved how Amy would always tweet what she eating. More often than not, it would have been a fast food or restaurant item. A certain chicken place was her favorite. In today’s culture, it’s not always politically correct to admit an affinity for fast food, yet Amy unabashedly expressed exactly what hot ticket item she was coveting that day. It made me smile, and often times it made me hungry as well.
There was something in Amy’s last batch of tweets, however, that was unsettling. On Twitter, you might be restricted to 140 characters, but there’s often more to be discerned beyond those words. I could feel for this Twitter friend the hurt she must have experienced in her final days. It wasn’t physical.
At one point, when she was still in ICU, Amy tweeted about a nurse who was caring for her who brought some attitude along with her stethescope. Amy didn’t elaborate, but she did mention that some nurses appeared to be in it just for the money. She went on to say that she did have some good nurses, but surely, from what I could gather this nurse with the attitude had a negative impact on Amy.
I wish we could learn from that. If only the grumpy nurse had decided to bring a different mood or energy into the room (thank you Oprah’s Lifeclass). It was of the utmost importance for this nurse in particular to bring a shinier light into Amy’s room. As an ICU nurse, she is tending fragile patients who may not make it out of those rooms. Her not-so-nice demeanor could very well be the last human interaction a patient has. This nurse of all people, should adjust the attitude. Amy didn’t deserve even a sliver of sour when all she put out into this world was sugar.
The other event Amy tweeted about, but without much elaboration, was a bad visit from her mother. There was some arguing, and the mother threw a saltine cracker at Amy. My heart really went out to her when I read that. I certainly hope her mother was later able to tell Amy that she loved her and was sorry. I don’t know what caused Amy’s death, other than it was unexpected. Clearly from her tweets, Amy was planning on going home soon. That said, I think anytime you visit a person in the hospital, arguing should be prohibited.
Amy left important lessons for me and for all of us in her last tweets. I decided to elaborate beyond that for her because she mattered to me. I hope professionals and everyday folks alike will remember that how we handle ourselves out in the world makes a difference. It’s not enough to say we will try to do better, we must actually put it into practice. Life is way too short. Wouldn’t you rather know you bring a little light with you rather than darkness? We have the power to carry that light with the simple choice of deciding how we will act. For the honor of Amy’s memory, please be good to one another.
*For the protection of her privacy, I am not releasing Amy’s Twitter name.