I Wish I Were Blind

He was huge, from the floor up and side to side. He walked down the hallway, never looking up, never acknowledging our presence. As he walked past the nurses' station he stared at his shoes. Icky 'gangster' shoes, shorts nearly touching his ankles and a baggy t-shirt with some annoying pictures printed on the front, hanging down past his rear end. "Geesh!" I thought. Nurses Announcements Archive Article


I Wish I Were Blind

"Sloppy!" he had one of that scraggly hair gone wild goatees that only covers the tip of his chin and long enough to touch his chest. He had a crew cut. A teardrop tattoo, in fact, tattoos covered his neck, arms and what little I saw of his legs. A McDonald's meal in one hand and a super large drink in the other. "he really doesn't need to eat that sort of meal!" I thought as I continued my sizing up of this incredibly large and scary man walking down the hallway.

I roll my eyes and turn back to my work, forgetting that just that morning I had read Christ's words about removing the plank from your own eye before trying to remove the speck of dust from someone else's. Forgetting I prayed and asked God to show me how to remove the many planks from my eye.

I follow my preceptor on her rounds to various rooms. We knock on the door to one room and enter. The smell of a greasy mcbreakfast assaults my nose. I glance over to the bed and there is 'mister gangsta' himself, not eating, but brushing his wife's hair as she cries. He also has tears in his eyes. Real ones, not tattoos.

I am surprised to learn that these are the parents of a newborn baby downs, with lots of complications.

Mamma has had 7 pregnancies. All miscarriages. Number 8 - long anticipated, long prayed for, long dreamed of - came blasting into the world 52 hours earlier after an emergency c-section. No one knew this baby would be anything but perfect. The news came as a total shock to the still young parents.

Basic care follows as we examine mom's incision, talk about her physical pain, and talk about the baby who is in NICU. Mamma wipes her tears, again and again, asks many questions to which we always seem to reply, 'the neonatologist will explain that to you when she comes'. Daddy gangsta continues to touch his wife's shoulders, squeeze a reassuring hand on hers, and wipes tears from his eyes too but never saying much.

Finally, his voice thick and shaky, he blurts out, 'we waited for him to come. We prayed every day for him and thanked God for him, and for giving us the chance to be his parents. We chose not to have an amniocentesis because we did not care if our baby was going to be having special problems because he was ours. So, it would not matter what the outcome from that would have been, we would not have aborted our son. He is a fighter! Look at him when you see him! He made it further than any of his other brothers or sisters did! He was protected and given to us by God! He is ours and we love him and don't want him to be sick because we don't want him to hurt! We just want to hold him and protect him, and we can't when he is not in our arms!' he stalled and broke down in sobs.

It was one of those moments when all around me was put on hold and god knelt down and took me by the shoulders and looked me squarely in the eye. Much like a parent does to a young child when trying to make a pointed stick in their stubborn heads.

I judged him based on his looks, on his appearance. How many times do I do that on a daily basis? He is in anguish, in pieces during what should be the happiest and most joyous times of his and his wife's young life. And he is not the person I thought he was.

He is a person that God loves very much....and therefore, so should i.

I hope and pray that from now on, God will make my appearance blind. I only want to see what God can see. I want to see the heart, mind, and soul, not what shoes, or tattoos or hairstyle. Maybe, by taking this one plank out of my eye, I can see better.

Maybe if I can quit judging a book by its cover, I will be more inclined to look inside and read that book and be able to understand, reach out, and help.

Appearance blind. Please remove this plank...

....lord, please make me appearance blind.....

Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

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Your article is soooooo poignant and true! Perhaps we can all remember when we ourselves as humans are inclined to prejudge another based on how he or she presents physically. Thank you for writing such a sensitive article. I enjoyed reading it.

Wow. Thank you. Often times the "cover" is their way of expressing themselves, but far too often it is hiding more than it reveals.

Specializes in Utilization Management.

Bravo! Bravo!! Excellent excellent article!!!

I think it's okay to have prejudices as long as you recognize them, accept them, and know that in the end, it is how you treat the person that counts. And I think that the very action of treating everyone equally then comes back around in full circle and helps us deal with our self-inflicted prejudices (that only we can control, not god).

That way, you don't have to worry about whether a person that looks and behaves the way you don't approve of is a "good" or "bad" person. What if he's not? What if he's the same person, but not suffering from heartbreak that you can empathize with? Regardless, you are going to understand the way you react to his looks, and be OK with it, because it doesn't affect the way you perform.

That's my 2 cents, maybe worth event less.

Specializes in new grad RN.

What a beautiful post! It is especially dear to my heart, but from a different perspective. As a caucasian nurse with dreadlocks, I have experienced this type of judgment and ignorance. I am fortunate enough to live in the U.S. caribbean, where I am taken seriously, am highly respected, and work side by side with other nurses and doctors-some of whom also have dreadlocks. In nursing school we are taught to be culturally sensitive in providing patient care, and health care institutions boast of being culturally diverse and welcoming cultural diversity. These are wonderful ideals, but until they are put into practice at every level,their potential is not realized. I pray that God will keep touching and opening the hearts and minds of all who provide nursing care, and in my situation, especially those in administration. He certainly opened your heart with Mista Gangsta! What a blessing...thank you so much for sharing!

Excellent piece of work!!!!!

What an excellent article! I pray that God will move us all to be appearance blind and we work to help, heal and comfort. Thank you for sharing this!! :redbeathe:redbeathe:redbeathe

This insight is very brave.

Specializes in LTC/hospital, home health (VNA).

If we all prayed and felt that way...think of the peace and acceptance in this world! Thank you for sharing!

Nice, it's hard not to judge... the important thing is we do not blurt out our judgment to somebody because if our judgment is proven wrong... then the shame will be on us.:smokin:

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

Your piece of work is absolutely beautiful