The Wonder of Lifelong Learning

 In Nurses Weekly

I’m a nurse educator and educating others (really, being educated by others) is my greatest joy in life. Every time I speak with Miss E., I learn. She is one of the elderly residents who live in the subsidized housing area where I’m honored to work. I’m smiling right now—I called her elderly, but we’re both around the same age! I need to remember how old I am, I guess. Yesterday, I came across a saying that reminded me of her:

Ask in order to understand, and do not ask in order to find fault.

— Imam Ali

Miss E. reminds me of my grandmother, who was born in Italy in 1900. She was born with severe scoliosis, and her parents wrapped her in a big rug they had borrowed from the town merchant. Then each parent twisted one of the ends (like a giant Atlantic City saltwater taffy) and attempted to straighten the baby’s back. It’s a wonder my grandmother lived through that.

Miss E. also has a curvature of her back. Whenever she speaks, it seems to me that because she is so bright, people look at her quizzically. I believe they’re trying to figure out what she is all about. But I know that Miss E. seeks to understand. She is straightforward, beautiful, and a bowl. Yes, a bowl…


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