June 3, 2011

Acting in Perfect Unison

By Diana Spranger, R.N.
Bettendorf Health Care

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you have heard me speak about the children & grandchildren that Ken and I have spread all around the USA. This past week-end we went North (to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) to visit children/grandchildren. Weather MUCH cooler there. Eight hours north makes a big difference in temperature. 38 degrees Saturday morning did not excite me. Despite the weather we had great fun playing games, watching old movies and of course eating….. They reside in a rural area, nearly 30 minutes from any town of decent size to buy needed items so we really feel as though we are in the wilderness while there. It’s a great way to find quiet and relaxation. Horse back riding, taking long walks in the woods, playing with 20 plus sled dogs, and much more.

While we were there, as in the past, I have often been awakened by the ominous sound of those Alaskan Huskies as they wake in the morning with this rather mournful cry. It always starts very softly with usually one dog making a crying sound that quickly becomes almost like a moaning cry. As soon as one wakes and begins this ritual cry, the others all join in. As I stated, it starts out as a soft cry from one dog and builds to a symphony of howls that reaches a crescendo and then is gone. It’s almost a mournful cry and at the same time, a comforting sound. It’s the dog’s way of saying, “we are awake, and we are ready to eat.” With no direction from the orchestra leader or any prompting, they instinctively know it’s morning and time for some attention from their master. The fascinating part of that is the sound that they make. The sound, even though it can be frightening the first time you hear it, is actually quite beautiful. It starts low and soft and builds but always on pitch and in unison. It makes me curious if there is always one dog that leads the chorus…

The reason I share this story is that it reminds me of how we, as people, often react. Sometimes we act in perfect unison, much like the dogs. As a people, if one begins to sing, “so to speak,” there are always others that join in. Sort of like a WAVE at a concert or ballgame. When someone acts out in anger, without fail, there are always others that jump on the band wagon, and before you know it, it becomes a riot. When tragedy comes, the entire nation rises up, and sometimes the whole world gets on board. We react the same way when triumph occurs. The most recent event of Prince William & Kate was a perfect example of the world coming together, either in person or via television or internet, to watch the Royal Wedding.

We see the exact same response here at BHCC on any given day with residents. If one resident gets upset, we often see many respond the same way. Likewise, it takes only one staff person to come into the building in an negative state of mind and before you realize it, it’s spread throughout the building. Fortunately, from a positive aspect, the same can occur. We have to realize that we do so often react to the stimuli around us, either positive or negative. Choose today to make a beautiful noise in unison with those around you….