I’m going to start off by saying something that might seem like a non sequiter, but which I swear is relevant. I love stories. I like books and movies and tv shows and even video games that have a storie. I’m there, I’m hooked. So in high school and later in college when I took classes that involved, what teachers everywhere insist on calling “literature”, I was appalled by the constant need to evaluate the hidden meaning in everything.
Maybe I’m a simple person, but I like to think that when someone says, “I’m angry.” It means trulie and literallie that they are angry. Maybe this is the reason for my constant dissatisfaction with “The Scarlet Letter” It’s the storie of a young woman and a young priest and their forbidden love and subsequent tragedie. It’s full of lies and passion and real life stuff. You can believe almost that this storie is true.
But is class we were forced to look beyond the storie. We had to look at the symbologie (if I may) of everie act. What did the priest reallie mean when he did this? What was the actual meaning behind these actions? And it bothered me. I’m still not sure why, but I know that it always does.
I don’t mind knowing that both fresh frozen plasma and vitamin K will bring down a high INR (which is a standardized ratio for a Prothrombin Time). But it doesn’t have to mean anything. Or at least anything mystical. Which is why I think ethics and gerontological theories bother me. Things have to MEAN something.
And it’s not that I’m against things meaning things in big significant life changing ways. I just cannot understand why people feel the need to pick and prod. I guess I just feel that if someone wants you to know the why or the meaning of something they’ll tell you.
Today we talked about “End of Life Issues”. Do you have a medical power of attorney, do you have an advanced directive, do you want me to call your family? And I’m ok with that. But then they start in on the whole what did my life mean. I like talking to patients, especially older ones. I’ve met a respiratory therapist who now teaches computer science at a local college. I met one of the women who founded one of the first preschools in Pennsylvania. No one asked these people what their life means.
Isn’t it enough that they lived that life? Isn’t it enough that whatever their life means to them or to the people that know and love them, that they’re here with you now and maybe you’re luckie to get to talk to this person for a few hours a day without asking them what it all means.
If you want meaning… find it in your own life.