Slow II

It all started
with a hamburger.
In 1986 McDonald’s
opened a franchise
in Rome, Italy,
near the Spanish Steps.
The Italians were not happy.
They had always cooked slowly and eaten leisurely,
allowing plenty of time to savor
the food and drink and company.
They had no desire for fast food,
which included fast ordering,
fast cooking, and fast eating.
So they organized an angry protest,
brandishing bowls of penne pasta.
Thus the Slow Food movement began.
The idea soon spread:
Slow Cities,
Slow Travel,
Slow Living,
always spelled with a capital “S.”
Now Dennis McCullough, M.D. has written
a book entitled My Mother, Your Mother
in which he advocates Slow Medicine
for caring for our aging loved ones.
He writes about those over eighty,
“…[T]his particular group of elders has the highest likelihood of benefiting from care that is more measured and reflective, and that actually stands back from the rushed, in-hospital interventions and slows down to balance thoughtfully the separate, multiple, and complex issues of late life.”
I agree with Dr. McCullough’s assessment.
I would go so far as to argue
that all people, whatever their age,
can benefit from measured and reflective care,
beyond emergency situations, of course.
That includes the kinds of situations
in which most of us are involved
as we care for our loved ones,
in our homes, in their homes,
and in healthcare facilities of many sorts.
Following Dr. McCullough’s lead,
I suggest that we practice Slow Caregiving.
I advocate that we go slow enough
so we can have time enough.
Time enough to really look at the other person,
to really see them.
Time enough to really hear
what they have to say,
to really listen to their hearts,
to really connect with their souls.
Time enough to come to understand
how and when our caregiving succeeds,
as well as how and when and where
our caregiving could be more useful,
more appropriate, more caring.
Time enough to savor any joy,
to linger over any closeness,
to fully appreciate every single appearance
of authenticity.
Time enough, in short,
to really care.

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One Response to “Slow II”

  1. caroldodell Says:

    This is a beautiful post that reminds me of how slow I needed to be with my mother. You don’t hurry someone with Parkinson’s. You don’t hurry someone with Alzheimers. Mother had both. She was in many ways, like my children were at two and three. Something would interest her and she’d stop, slowly pick it up, examining all sides.
    Our rush to medicate and overmedicate, hospitals, tests, therapies…it’s all too much. Too much stimulus, too many choices.
    Life does slow down.
    It’s natural. Our bodies slow down. Brains, slow down. Thoughts slow down.
    Learning to calm myself took practice, and although I found myself racing on the inside, I’d catch myself and breathe.

    I like this concept of Slow Caregiving.

    ~Carol D. O’Dell

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