Doorways of Not-Knowing

by Virginia Macali

Each day that I cross the threshold of a patient’s room during my clinical rotation,  I am aware that I don’t know what I will find.  I enter the not-knowing with a sense of openness and anticipation.  Each new patient is a world of his or her own, with a unique history and personality. 

Referrals for UZ may come from a doctor, nurse, or family member.  Nurses provide some basic health information, but details are often slim.  Sometimes they let us know whether the patient is having a good day or a bad day and whether they might enjoy Urban Zen session today.  Even with those details, we don’t know what we’ll encounter.

When I pass through the doorway and rub the hand sanitizer into my palms, the patient may be experiencing discomfort that is mental, physical, emotional or spiritual.  We’ve worked with people who chose not to continue with cancer treatment, people who have been in car accidents, people with recent knee replacement, people at end of life, and people with memory issues.

We encounter wondrous people on our rounds. A woman who delighted in hearing her name spoken by the UZIT, a woman who spoke proudly of the difficulties she’d been through in her life and how she got through them, a man who used his wit to tease a UZIT, a woman who cruises through the building with her walker, greeting everyone with a smile, a memory care patient who laughs at a video of I Love Lucy.

One week we worked with a patient’s grandchildren who loved smelling a number of different essential oils and hearing the stories about them, a staff member who took time for a short reiki session and shed a tear for patients she worked with, office workers who enjoyed hearing about Urban Zen and having 10 minutes to smell lemon oil, receive reiki, do a brief body scan.  Each of these encounters left people feeling more refreshed and relaxed as they continued through their day.  I feel a deep satisfaction to being of service in this way.  And I await the next doorway and what I will find when I cross the threshold.

Virginia Macali is a trainee in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program in Columbus, Ohio.  She is enjoying the clinical rotation at Wexner Heritage Village.

2 Responses to Doorways of Not-Knowing
  1. Jenn

    Well said! This is why I love this work too!

  2. Gail

    Dear Virginia, I’m so glad to hear you’ve found your voice. You are well suited to the work u r doing. Obviously, since you enjoy it so much. I hope to see your smiling eyes soon at YoHi.