Wonderful Hospital Staff

Prince Charles Hospital

Prince Charles Hospital After nearly 6 months in hospital, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful hospital staff who have looked after me. Virtually everyone has been wonderful, but there are a few special people. I won’t name them purely because I’m putting this thanks on the Internet, but they know who they are.

Doctors

From my heart transplant surgeon to registrars on the ward, I have had more doctors looking after me than I can count. There has been a team of heart doctors, intensive-care doctors, vascular doctors (otherwise known as leg choppy off doctors J ), kidney doctors and rehabilitation doctors. Each of these doctors has been unique in the way they helped and interacted with me. However, all of them were fantastic.

There have been some individual heart doctors and one rehabilitation doctor whose care has gone above and beyond. I have enjoyed getting to know them as people and felt they have done the same. I am glad that they have played a personal part in my life.

Nurses

I have had nurses looking after me in 5 different wards, but mainly in ICU and the rehabilitation ward. In ICU, I had one-on-one nursing. Of the 200+ nurses, I got to know over 50 very well. I still see them around the hospital especially in the cafeteria and it is always great to catch up again.

Now, I’m in the rehabilitation ward. There is a smaller number of nurses but they are absolutely brilliant. I really appreciate their willingness to care for me as a person and to go above and beyond what they are meant to do. They have done everything from doing my washing to bringing in home-cooked meals. They are truly amazing.

Physios and Occupational Therapists

What can I say? I hate physio . No, a more accurate description is that I have a love-hate relationship with physio and its OT counterpart. Basically, I hate exercise and the physio/OT work is exercise plus pain. Yet at the same time, it is amazing how it has helped me to be able to do so many things and to start feeling normal again.

I have had many physios and OTs. Yet, 2 stand out. One of these looked after me for a long period of time in ICU. The other looked after me for most of my time in the rehabilitation ward. They are amazing people and they put up with a lot of whingeing from me. Again, the thing I appreciate the most was they treated me as a person and not just as a task. Thank you.

Pharmacists

Who would have thought that I’d be thanking pharmacists? Typically, they operate behind the scenes dispensing drugs and so on.

Yet, there has been one pharmacist on the rehabilitation ward who is always happy, friendly and warm. Their willingness to say hello and to talk about how I’m going whenever they see me has boosted my spirits on several occasions.

Wardies

Before coming to hospital, I wouldn’t have even known what a wardie was. However, I have learnt they are the most amazing people. They have lifted me, turned me, helped me go to the toilet, taken me to the cafe, found me TVs to watch and always had time for a chat when I come across them around the hospital.

I just wish there was more of them.

Humanism and Religion

Humanism and religion

Humanism and religion A humanist’s commitment to discerning truth using rational logic and hard evidence can often cause them to come into conflict with their religious peers. This has led some humanists to become staunchly anti-religious. However, humanism as a philosophy is not anti-religious.

Personally, I choose not to be anti-religious. In fact, many religious figures, from Jesus to Buddha, were living examples of people who led lives that exemplify the best of human character. They challenged the societal and religious traditions of their time that were illogical and inhumane. Furthermore, they called upon others to do the same. This holds true whether you believe in the divine nature of such figures or not.

I am not anti-religious, and I am good friends with people who have a very strong faith as well as people who are diehard atheists. However, I do reject blind adherence to any religious dogma. Historically, such adherence has led to travesties such as the Spanish Inquisition, human sacrifices, and the emergence of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. In modern times, it has led to blights on society, such as Jihad and the protection of paedophile priests.

 


How Is Humanism Different Religion?

The largest difference between humanism and any religion is that you can be a humanist without believing in God. That doesn’t mean you have to be an atheist. In fact, there is a very large movement of religious humanists. It simply means that a belief in any form of God is not necessary.

Another difference stems from the first. When humanists ask themselves, What is right? or How should I act? they do not rely on superstition or blind obedience to any authority. Rather, they consider what they know objectively and how they can use that knowledge to act in ways that benefit themselves and those around them.

A subtler difference is that a humanist relies upon their own abilities (intellectual, physical or creative) and not upon fate or divine intervention when seeking to improve their own or others’ personal circumstances. Humanists think for themselves and take action accordingly.

Why I Chose To Be A Humanist

humanism

humanism

In my brief profile on my homepage, I mention that I am a father, a teacher, a blogger and a humanist. Since started this blog a few weeks ago. Since then, I have had several queries about what humanism is and why I have chosen to follow this philosophy.

 


What Is Humanism?

Humanism is a philosophy born largely during periods in history known as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

In simple terms, as a humanist I am on an ongoing quest to become enlightened. However, this is not in any religious sense. Rather, I am on a quest to find truth and beauty in the world and to then share this with others.

 


The Elements Of Humanism

As a species we have the gift of a powerful innate intelligence. This gives us the capacity to discern truth using revidence, logic and reason. We have learnt so much about the world. In fact, it is estimated our collective knowledge is now doubling every 9 years. Yet, we still struggle to make use of this knowledge. Why? Because we cling to superstitions and blind beliefs. Humanists seek to consciously overcome this struggle and to encourage others to do the same.

We can also use our intelligence to allow creativity to flourish. We sing, we write, we paint and we act – albeit, some of us better than others . Furthermore, we can appreciate the artistic endeavours of others. These may be novels, sculptures, songs or something else. Humanists seek to consciously appreciate the creativity around them.

Yet, reason and creativity are not enough. We are also wired to feel compassion for those in need. This innate tendency calls us to help our fellow man. Humanists consciously strive to answer this call.

I think the Humanist Manifesto sums all of this up nicely. It explains that humanists are guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience. Such guidance encourages us to live life well and fully.

Of course, humanists are not the only people who seek truth, who appreciate beauty, or who show compassion. However, the combination of all three is quite unique.

Humanists are guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience— such guidance encourages us to live life well and fully.

Sadly, some people still cling to superstitions, some fail to appreciate beauty around them, and others have no regard for the needs of those around them. At a personal level, such failures can lead to a lack of self-fulfilment. At a collective level, they have seen humanities potent power turned to evil ends.

 


So Why Did I Become A Humanist?

After spending the last 6 months in hospital and cheating death on several occasions, I have had a lot of time to think about what life is all about. The notion that you can achieve personal growth through seeking truth, and then compassionately using that knowledge to create a better society resonated with the person I want to be.

Related: Humanism and Religion

The Euthanasia Debate: Dying With Dignity: A Human Right

The Victorian government is considering legalizing euthanasia – something I believe is long overdue.

Some people have serious reservations about legalizing it. While I disagree, I understand where they’re coming from.

People have concerns about the elderly being pressured into ending their life by family who consider it a burden to care for them. They are also concerned about how legalizing euthanasia gives doctors a license to kill and about the capacity of seriously depressed people to make such a decision.

While I understand these concerns, I do not believe they warrant taking away a person’s right to die with dignity.

At the moment, I have no wish to end my life. However, I know what it is like to pray every night not to wake up the next morning. Being alive does not mean you have a reasonable quality of life. Sometimes, you are forced to exist with your dignity stripped away and nothing to hope for in the future.

I know this is a contentious issue. Many of my good friends would disagree with my point of view.

Perhaps with improving palliative care euthanasia may be unnecessary. But my experience is that efforts in such care make you feel subhuman, insignificant and hopeless.

My health has improved dramatically and I look forward to many years of living. However, there will come a time when I am little more than a piece of meat being poked, prodded and kept alive with no hope of any meaningful future. At that point, I believe I have the right to die with dignity – and legalizing euthanasia is the only way to enact this right.

Yes, appropriate safeguards need to be put in place, but I believe that dying is as much a human right as living.