A downwind of love..!
He was admitted to the hospital and received his first dose of chemotherapy. But during treatment this usually gentle man became extremely angry and upset. The doctors and nurses were baffled.
Then Tenzin’s wife spoke to the hospital staff. She told them Tenzin had been held as a political prisoner by the Chinese for 17 years.
She told them that the hospital rules and regulations, coupled with the chemotherapy treatments, gave Tenzin horrible flashbacks of what he had suffered at the hands of the Chinese. “I know you mean to help him,” she said, “but he feels tortured by your treatments.
So the doctors discharged Tenzin and asked the hospice team to visit him in his home. I was the hospice nurse assigned to his care. But when I encouraged Tenzin to talk about his experiences, he held up his hand and stopped me. He said, “I must learn to love again if I am to heal my soul.” I took a deep breath. I asked him, “So, how can I help you love again?”
Tenzin immediately replied, “Sit down, drink my tea and eat my cookies.” Tibetan tea is strong black tea laced with yak butter and salt. It isn’t easy to drink! But that is what I did. For several weeks, Tenzin, his wife, and I sat together, drinking tea. When the spring came, I asked Tenzin what Tibetans do when they are ill in the spring.
He smiled brightly and said, “We sit downwind from flowers.” He told me Tibetans sit downwind so they can be dusted with the new blossoms’ pollen that floats on the spring breeze. They feel this new pollen is strong medicine. At first, finding enough blossoms seemed a bit daunting. Then, one of my friends suggested that Tenzin visit some of the local flower nurseries.
I dropped them off at the nursery and assured them I would return at 5:00. The following weekend, Tenzin and his wife visited another nursery. The third weekend, they went to yet another nursery. The fourth week, I began to get calls from the nurseries inviting Tenzin and his wife to come again. Pretty soon, the nurseries were competing for Tenzin’s visits. People began to know and care about the Tibetan couple.