My mind drifted over the past three days here at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad.
The first day started with my visit to an Iraqi boy who was burned over most of his body from playing with matches and fuel. "They don't know 'stop, drop and roll' here," whispered the pediatrician, who was weaving bandages between the boy's toes.
I beamed a smile toward the boy's perfect and untouched face. He offered no emotion in return. Without much ability to talk to the family, I knew of only one way to offer respect.
I passed a copy of the Koran to the father. He placed his hand on his heart and gratefully received the book by kissing it and positioning it on the boy's pillow.
As we stood above the boy, we heard the PA crackle to life. "Trauma call, trauma call, trauma call times four."
Four Americans wounded by an IED blast were being brought into our emergency room by people who work a 72-hour week in other jobs but volunteer their spare time to help us.
During a trauma call, the frantic pace rivals the activity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Amid this chaos, my assistant, Staff Sgt. David Pastorius, and I do our best to determine whether someone needs a priest.
Mostly, I stand alongside the medical folks as they work. I walk among the wounded and keep an eye out for those who might need to talk later. Some staff members are those who'd shed tears in the chapel service a few weeks back.
While most of the soldiers arrived in good shape, there would be tears again on Sunday, as one military member would go home without legs.
The rest of the day was quiet, but we try not to say that "Q" word among emergency staff. They are somewhat superstitious and jokingly consider the word "quiet" to be a jinx.
The next day, I was called for a committee meeting and hoped that meant a quiet day.
"Ethics Committee meeting," shouted the head nurse into the small space I share with my assistant. I exchanged questioning looks with Pastorius. These meetings are rare.
Our little burn patient wasn't doing so well. With burns over most of his body, he'd had a stroke and was septic. The Ethics Committee unanimously recommended the boy be allowed to die at home. We would send him home with maximum pain control so he could see a family that anxiously longed to hold him.
I left the meeting to find the pediatrician and the father rewrapping the boy's burns. The father loved this boy more than most of us could imagine and was taking the role of a nurse's aide alongside the doctor.
Sharing heavenward glances with the father, we both made the prayer gesture with palms pressed together. An hour later, the family left with their son, creating a torrent of staff tears in their wake.
During the next two days, someone must have jinxed us again with the "Q" word, because more trauma and more burn patients came to replace the ones to whom we'd said goodbye.
As I sat in the cafeteria, jets screamed overhead, helicopters fluttered in the distance, an occasional mortar struggled to penetrate our defenses, and this surgeon was asking me, "What do you do?"
I do what I also hope you do. In the midst of chaos, I pray. I share a laugh. I wipe a tear. I offer a shoulder. I lend an ear.
And at the end of the day - whether quiet or rushed - I strive to be a visible reminder of the holy to a place that desperately needs it.
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
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