Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
-James Baldwin

From "Love, Medicine and Miracles," by Bernie Siegel:

Despite the need for optimism, no part of the diagnosis should ever be hidden. The truth can always be delivered with hope, since no one can be certain of the future. Moreover, I can now accept illness and see my primary task as helping patients achieve peace of mind. This puts the physical problem in perspective. Getting well is not the only goal. Even more important is learning to live without fear, to be at peace with life, and ultimately death. Then healing can occur and one is no longer set up for failure (by believing one can cure all physical problems and never die).

A sense of humor is an enormous asset, too. Many times when I'm in a room with a "dying" patient, we are laughing. Out in the hallway, the other staff members often think we are denying reality. We're simply still alive and thus able to laugh. Hospital personnel must realize that people aren't "living" or "dying." They are either alive or dead. As long as they are alive, we must treat them that way.

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