I recently watched a mother and child in distress. Strangers to me. His mother, frazzled by his distress, did not know what to do. So I approached them and asked her if I could hold his hand. She agreed in exasperation. I got down to his level and then asked the little boy if he would feel better if someone held his hand. He said yes. So I held his little hand with bitten down finger nails, until his sobs subsided and then asked him whether he would feel even better if mum gave him a hug. He nodded silently. They reached out to each other, and held on for the longest time. I could see him smile through her windswept hair and she smiled at me through tears. Sniffles all round and a quick nose wipe, and everyone was good to go. I left them and went about my business, the memory of our interaction still fresh in my mind and perhaps, in my eyes, too.
I share this with you for a reason.
Last night I watched the news. They are introducing robot nurses in some clinical settings. Really!
There is nothing that can replace the touch of a human hand! I was raised to know this from infancy. I recall babies in India being massaged to within an inch of their life every day with coconut oil “to make them stronger”. (We now know the science behind this relates to the release of oxytocin).
I did the same with my children and as they grew older, they loved a foot massage. We are a family that hugs. Touch is important to us. Our pets know this too. You should see Kovu’s tail wag whenever we reach down to pat him.
Even he knows the value of human touch.
Following my accident, during my numerous hospital stays, it was always the touch of a nurse’s hand that made me feel I was on the road to recovery. So don’t get me started on robots!
Until next time
a dawn bird