A Gift of Love: The Power of Touch
Excerpted from from A Gift of Love by Tony Cointreau.
The first time I was aware of the healing power behind the simple act of touching a person in a loving way was when my mother and I arrived at the hospital after the doctors had amputated my aunt Tata’s leg below the knee. We had decided to wait at home (only a few blocks away) during the operation and came back minutes after she had been wheeled back into her room.
My aunt had been stoic throughout the pain of gangrene, which had been caused by a hospital error when they blocked an artery in her groin during a simple test. But now we could hear her screams as we came out of the elevator on her floor. A nurse greeted us with the news that something had gone wrong after the surgery and two interns were now working on what was left of her leg to correct it. The worst part was that they did not want to give painkillers to anyone with so little body weight. It sounded as though they were torturing her to death.
I may not have been the bravest person in the world with medical emergencies, but I kept my head and insisted that my mother get the primary surgeon on the phone and request any and all drugs possible to alleviate her sister’s suffering. The reason I made her call was because I could tell that the doctor had been impressed by Mother’s charms and would give us immediate action.
While waiting for the medication, I watched my mother gently caress her sister’s brow. It particularly stuck in my mind since it was an uncharacteristic thing for her to do.
After Mother had returned back home, my aunt insisted on showing me what was left of her leg because she feared that they had taken off more than they had told her they would. I tried to reassure her as best I could before I excused myself to go sit in the bathroom with my head between my legs so as not to pass out.
The next day when I went back to the hospital my aunt confided to me that the only thing she remembered clearly about the terrible day of the operation was the comfort she had felt when my mother had caressed her forehead.
It was a lesson I never forgot.