Angels in the Emergency Room
By Dr. Joan McNeill, Ph.D., R.N.
There is an opportunity unlike any other to witness life’s greatest defining moments; it’s raw emotion without premeditation, you’ll see addictions in full bloom, observe dysfunctional behavior that is Oscar award-worthy, a virtual melting pot of the most joyful moments, or rock bottom despair.
This place will take those who work there to a level of fatigue that is incomprehensible. This magical place and its patrons will suck the very nectar; spiritual, physical and emotional out of the worker and will still be starving for more. It is a place where thank you is rare and back injuries and varicose veins are plentiful.
There are many light workers disguised as depleted scrub-adorned humans. Next time you visit be aware, you can’t miss them; there’s an undeniable vibrating light behind their eyes that confirms what you have suspected is true. These are the people you hear through your pain and fear saying “You are safe with me, I promise.” These people typically have multiple patients, but you know intuitively that they will hear you when you need them.
It’s the only place in a hospital where you are assigned a set number of workers, and when the place is full you can’t turn on the “no-vacancy” sign. The waiting room alone has been referred to as a study in human sociology, or on certain days, a Jerry Springer set.
Why you ask, would anyone raise their hand to spend time there, taking a wage that is a small fraction of what a computer programmer could be making? I believe it is an opportunity to be in service of the highest degree, up close and personal, while fellow members of our race are experiencing “major moments”. One has the ability to selflessly extend the essence of their self, to another struggling individual who may need the surplus of energy and compassion offered.
There are many polarities in emergency medicine, birth in the hospital parking lot, or the premature death of a gunshot victim on the floor of the ambulance entrance. Death and transition are inevitable in this place. There is a cat-like reflex required by the emergency light worker. In a flash you are expected to respond as a minister for all religions, to support and honor another who is experiencing the death of a loved one, or grieving the notification of a terminal disease, or the eleven-year-old giving birth to an unwanted baby.
The dying process is multi-dimensional whether from sudden cardiac/respiratory failure, expected hospice death, pediatric CPR, or premature death due to traumatic injuries. Some workers remain uncomfortable with grief and perceived loss. In earlier years I too was terribly ill equipped around grieving people. It was only when I had assessed, felt, and grieved heavy losses in my own life that I was able to sit with others in theirs. There is an energetic bond, a vulnerability, and a commonality that is experienced by the worker and the affected that is indelible. There is a spiritual paycheck among these workers that is accruing.
When I opened “The Evolution Angel” and read the intro, tears of joy and validation leaked from my eyes. I felt my heart pound in my throat as I devoured the book chapter by chapter. Things I absolutely know to be true are spoken out loud on these pages. In my chest I humbly breathed, “Someone feels as I feel, and sees as I have seen, what a relief!”
Author, Dr. Michael Abrams, is the director of an emergency/trauma department in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Described by those who know him as a true Renaissance man and a Mensa society member since 1985, he divides his time between writing and medicine. It is with generous courage that Dr. Abrams has compiled this labor of love called “The Evolution Angel”. I invite all of you who don’t plan on getting out of here alive to saturate yourself with the wisdom that somehow will feel very familiar to you. His writings will awaken knowledge in you that which until now may have been forgotten.
JM: I praise you for this beautiful contribution; my consistent prayer is that we can contribute to the modalities of the future, care that appreciates transition and death as an event, not to be feared, but to be embraced and celebrated, and to implement return of control to the individual affected. To honor their process and offer alternatives to what is currently available in medicine today.
MA: Many health care providers come up to me to comment on the book and to let me know they are working with this kind of stuff too. There is an evolving interest that is really coming alive. JM: I understand the cover art for your book was created by you, extraordinary! MA: I’ve been painting since I was eight, so after forty two years — I guess I’ve gotten a little bit better, but it’s a slow process. This depiction shows the evolving state of the angel.
JM: You have practiced medicine in four different areas to date; which has been the most challenging?
MA: I have been a pain management specialist, a board-certified family practitioner and ran a large multi-disciplinary pain treatment center. Actually my favorite is emergency medicine. I like the fact that things happen so quickly, it’s definitely not boring. Certain patients and diagnoses repeat over and over, but in other cases it is so dangerous and fraught with peril you don’t have time to get bored. I don’t want to work in this field forever. You don’t see too many old ER doctors. (Laughter) I plan on spending more time writing and sharing what I’ve learned. I told my wife the other day I felt as if my auric field had been sandblasted past the finish down to the frame, if that analogy makes any sense. After a normal shift it takes two to three days to recover and regain myself.
JM: I completely relate to your intro that speaks of long shifts and the resultant fatigue that accompanies this work, coupled with the challenge of trying to stay awake on the drive home.
MA: I have found a solution to that problem and offer this tip when I talk to groups to get them laughing, since the subject we are about to discuss is kind of sad. It helps balance the lecture. Ready for the secret? Atomic fireballs, just pop one of those in your mouth and you CAN NOT fall asleep. Think of it as a natural remedy to stay awake. (Laughter)
JM: I appreciated your observations regarding the disintegration of the physical/mental body as you watch your loved one change. You offer such comforting wisdom to those of us left to witness this gracious, vibrant family member turn into an angry, discontent individual who is so much the opposite of what they have been before this time. Alzheimer's was the diagnosis of the patient you were speaking of which affects so many of our families today.
MA: That has been one of the most popular passages in the entire book and refers to an old physician who was dying very slowly and appeared to be slowly losing his mind, and in the process losing his spiritual knowledge as well. It was explained to me by him in spirit that he didn’t lose anything, what had actually happened was all perfect and what he had wanted for himself. He explained that there are two ways to move from one body to another; you can either move quickly, for example: you could have the movers come in at the very last minute of the last day and slam things into boxes. They break things and it’s quick and traumatic; or you can move very slowly and methodically, like some of the older people who seem to hang on; they appear to slowly pack up their most valuable things first, move those boxes over to the other side, then pack up in a very planned and organized fashion so there is no confusion. This physician conveyed to me that is the way he chose to move and that’s why he moved his higher faculties first, i.e.: his spiritual knowledge and his intellect was moved first, that is why it appeared he had lost his mind, when in fact he really was proceeding with things in a way that was very comfortable for him.
JM: Beautiful, if we can offer this perception to someone who is struggling right now with a loved one and they can receive comfort and solace, that would be my desire.
JM: I loved page twenty-eight regarding the description of angels existing in the child.
MA: Yes, I mean when your body takes form on the earthly plane, your angelic consciousness usually doesn’t complete the transition in one fell swoop. You remain part angel, as it were, during infancy and childhood. I know children I would swear are part angel. My understanding is through infancy you do bring all the wisdom and knowledge acquired before this lifetime, and as an infant you are not separated from this knowledge. What happens is you slowly lose it as you make your way through the processes of growth and maturation and you forget. The good news is you can get it back. It is your right and your privilege if you want to do it, but you have to make it very clear to the Universe what it is you want. Once you make it very clear and you’ve asked for it; you have to “claim it” and be rather assertive about it; respectful but assertive. Then once you’ve firmly made your claim, it will come to you.
JM: You also state your foremost goal as a human being is to learn to transcend your senses. Your job is to develop your soul — to strengthen your abilities to think and act, and communicate at the level of spirit. Could you expound upon that because I believe this is the discipline of our incarnation?
MA: I had asked the question, if there are angels why would they not make themselves visible to us, what is the big mystery? Wouldn’t that make more sense, wouldn’t that help us to grow more spiritually, a lot more quickly? Their response was if they were to become visible to us we would experience a brief period of growth but overall it would ultimately stunt our growth. Our job here on earth, one of the reasons for being here, is to learn to transcend our senses and to see and act with the eyes of spirit. To learn to act in spirit, through spirit and not so much as to act on a lower level. They use the analogy of the foreign language teacher who always keeps the bar very high with her students; she never lapses back into the pupil’s native language. The entire class discussion is in the language to be learned; in essence requires them to stretch to the level expected of them. The angel’s prime objective is to promote this atmosphere for us and not to become visible or audible, only in very special circumstances which is very rare. Our desired outcome is to become more spiritual and come up to their level. According to them, this appears to work very well.
JM: You also confirm that talking to the comatose patient, however awkward, is important and that it need not be aloud and in sentences, but is equally effective from your heart.
MA: Yes, this is not new information, however even if they do not remember what you said upon awakening, it is encoded in them and is the right thing to do. It’s very simple.
JM: This simplicity is the overall message throughout the book “Love others, help others, practice selfless loving thought and deeds. Constantly engage in generous action, treat everything and everyone as an angel and a direct extension of God.”
MA: I do speak about the Judeo Christian religion because that is the predominant western view, however I have almost never met a religion I didn’t like. I believe the religions of the world are like circles which are all overlapping at one point, and it is at that one point, the message is what you just said in your synopsis. To act out of love, cooperation and kindness.
JM: I want to encourage anyone, whether you are a healthcare provider or someone who will be involved in the healthcare system at some point in your life; to read this book. There are many more subjects discussed in the book that are of tremendous value. (See review on page 00000)
Dr. Joan McNeill, Ph.D., R.N., has practiced emergency/trauma medicine and holds a doctorate degree in Holistic counseling/medicine while maintaining additional certifications in advanced pediatric/adult cardiac life support, mobile intensive transport care, and advance trauma life support. She is the co-host of Choices! Television and specializes in end-of-life issues, chronic pain management, women’s health, and the ability to detect “root causes” of chronic disease. Inquiries are welcome at: JMPhDRN@aol.com
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