Tell Me Something Good

Many people that work at the hospital know me by the phrase/question: “Tell me something good!” Of course there are many things in this world that are bad; HOWEVER, there are also many, many things in this world that are good.

It took me years before I realized this valuable life’s lesson, but I finally learned it! Therefore, I “spread” this message around work at the Harris Healthcare System, mainly at Ben Taub General Hospital on the trauma floor, to patients, families and staff.

On one occasion I called a discharged patient, Barbara, whom I had worked with over a lengthy hospitalization. Every time I would enter her room, I would ask her to “tellme something good!” At first, she did not have any answers because she felt that “nothing was good.” However, eventually she started thinking deeply and realized, “Sure, I have many problems, but I also have many positive things. At least I am able to say I woke up.”

She became positive and started smiling more and more, as she progressed daily. Eventually, she was discharged from the hospital. After a week, I called her to see how she was doing. Barbara answered the phone and I said, “Hi, this is Mike Segal.” I waited for her to respond . . . and waited . . . and waited some more. I heard nothing but breathing on the other end of the phone. I broke the silence by repeating, “This is Mike Segal” and added “from Ben Taub Hospital.” I was sure she now would realize who I was; however, again “nothing” but silence on the other end of the phone receiver. Quickly I said, “Tell me somethinggood!”

I could “feel” Barbara’s smile as she screamed, “MIKE!” She started yelling out questions and said she was doing very well. Now, it was my turn to smile!

I never know what to expect when I ask that question. One day I walked into a room and saw a patient in his hospital bed with his wife close by in a chair. “Hi, it’s Mike. Hello John . . . Hello Sara. John, tell me something good.”

I had been working with his wife, mainly in the waiting room, so I had not had much interaction with John, especially since he had been in the ICU, heavily sedated. However, now it was my time to ask my question, “Tell mesomething good.”

John calmly answered, “Peanut Butter.”

I started laughing and said, “Yes . . . Peanut Butter is good, but tell me something good ABOUT YOU!”

“I am looking forward to eating a Peanut Butter sandwich.”

I continued to laugh as I thought, “At least he is not thinking negatively!”

Yet another patient, Mary, had been in the hospital for many weeks. She was beginning to get somewhat depressed, thinking on more than one occasion “that she would never be discharged from the hospital.” I tried to encourage her, having her focus on what was positive in her life: family, friends, improving . . . I told her about one of my favorite books (out of print), which was a collection of positive short stories called, “Focus On The Bagel, Not On The Hole.” I explained that, “Sure, there are many bad things in life; however, there are so many great things: Like the bagel!” I always tried to encourage her to “FOCUS ON THE BAGEL!”

One Monday when I walked into Mary’s room, I saw her smiling from ear to ear. I quickly asked, “Mary, tell mesomething good.” She hurriedly replied, “Mike, the doctor said maybe I could go home at the end of the week!”

I jumped back in, asking, “So what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home?”

Mary calmly smiled and said, “I’m going to eat a bagel . . . with Philadelphia cream cheese spread over and blocking the hole!”

I laughed, but realized how far she had come – both physically and emotionally. Sure, life can hurt, but Mary taught me that with a positive attitude, plus the Philadelphia cream cheese, most things are possible!

Michael Jordan Segal ©2012

Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head and then returning to college, is a husband, father and social worker. He works at a level one trauma center (giving emotional support and hope to patients and families), freelance author (including a CD/Download of 12 stories, read with light background music, entitledPOSSIBLE, as well as working on his autobiography, which will be entitled A SHOT OF INSPIRATION), and inspirational speaker, sharing his recipe for happiness, recovery and success before conferences and businesses. To contact Mike or to order his CD, please   as well as checking out his youtube


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