During this time of isolation, we are sharing prayers, poems, inspirational music, videos and quotes that uplift our spirits in a special email newsletter each Tuesday. Here is an excerpt from our February 9 edition.
In this time when we are unable to reach out and touch many of the people in our lives, you may be thinking about the hands that have soothed you over the years. We asked for stories from ESGers and have several to share with you. We hope this gets you thinking about the hands that have soothed you over the years and give you a chance to hold and cherish those memories. May they bring you comfort.
“The first healing hands that come to mind are, of course, my mother’s. How many times she comforted and cared for me with loving words and gentle touch as I cried from physical pain or emotional hurt! As a wife and mother, I have felt the loving hands of both my husband and my children as I struggled with bad news. But presently what stands clearly in my mind are the healing hands of a perfect stranger.
Almost a year ago now I had a traumatic fall on Queen St W when my toe caught on the corner of a slightly raised sidewalk. In an instant I was lying flat out face down with my arms stretched before me. Flying like Wonder Woman! Immediately I realized I had done some serious damage to my left arm as the pain was excruciating. I had cried out as I fell and now lay crying on the cold pavement. In a flash there was a woman on her hands and knees bent over by my face, talking to me in comforting, soothing tones. As she talked, she gently stroked my forehead. Another woman called for an ambulance. The kneeling woman stayed by my side until the ambulance came, perhaps ten to fifteen minutes. She continued to stroke my forehead and soothe me with her soft words. She wasn’t able to heal me, as I later learned I had dislocated my shoulder, but her actions made me feel better. My crying turned to an occasional whimper. My brain registered that this woman cared for me and wanted to ease my pain. At one point I had calmed enough to ask if she was a nurse because she seemed to know just what I needed. She replied that she was a kindergarten teacher. I thought how lucky those children were. Unfortunately, I never thought to ask her name. She will always remain my Loving Stranger who was there for me when I needed a healing touch. I will try to honour her by giving to another stranger what she gave to me that day – The Kindness of Strangers.”
“Since Covid struck Therapeutic Touch has been my frequent companion. I often think back to 2003 when our first TT courses were held at ESG under the auspices of Jessie Nodwell. I recall her kindness and encouragement as she shepherded our group through the three levels of study and mentored our practice sessions until we were qualified to treat others. Her patience was infinite and she was always so supportive. Over the years I have found TT to be such a useful skill and a week seldom goes by when I haven’t used it on family or friends. It would have been so helpful in raising my family and supporting an aging parent. Therapeutic Touch is offered with love and compassion and the relaxation it brings helps the body heal itself. As well as giving, I have often been on the receiving end especially when I had a hip replacement and a very black eye. In both cases my healing was smoother and faster than I anticipated. Many times, over the years I have had occasion to give thanks for the gift of Therapeutic Touch.”
Gloria van Geilswyk
“Looking back on my surgery several years ago, it reminded me of a dear friend who visited. As she laid her healings hands lightly on my back, I felt a calmness and caring in this light touch. It stayed with me, that comforting healing calmness.
My thoughts return to helping many others with their ailments. At the end of each touch, I felt God’s presence surround us both. As the person left our room, they either walked lighter or I saw a glow surround them. This was also a gift to myself. My faith has always been my guide.”
Wendy Moulsdale, Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal ICU at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Amidst life-saving technology lies a 1.5 pound premature baby born months too soon. A Team of professionals guide the details of her care until she is strong enough to go home. A very important part of that Team are the parents who often feel that there is not much they can offer. Delayed parenting, loss of hope, and acute stress disorder are some of the mental health struggles preemie parents cope with during their baby’s long hospitalization.
Hand hugging is the provision of intentional, comforting and positive touch for babies in the Neonatal ICU. Parents are taught how to provide this loving touch which helps regulate their baby’s breathing, heart rate and body temperature, create a sense of security, cope with painful procedures, and promote bonding and attachment. Hand hugging is one aspect of the Family Centred Care model which seeks to humanize the care of babies born prematurely by integrating the baby into the family right from birth and where parents become the primary caregivers.