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I Went Back

May 18, 2009

Yesterday after dinner, I went back to the hospital. Don’t worry, nothing is wrong, I went back to get an item I had forgotten in my room when I left.

My buddy had come by during the day and converted my van back to the configuration which makes me the driver, and I really needed to get behind the wheel. I was itching for a reason, even though I still feel quite weak.

I told myself I would start out and if it proved to be too much for me, I would turn back. But it was fine and I made it there only to find the main entrance closed. I had forgotten that on weekends after 6pm, you have to be let in by security at the emergency entrance. This put me right in the waiting room of where I had spent a very difficult 20 hours or so. But I was ok. The guard called the nurse’s station to verify that it was ok for me to come up. This took about 10 minutes, while I controlled my anxiety. I was not nearly as anxious as I thought I would be as I roamed the hallways of the 7th floor where I had spent most of my time. The bed I had been in already had another patient.  I located a nurse, retrieved my item, and left as quickly as I could.

On my way back to my van, I noticed an elderly lady sitting on her walker, her coat buttoned up tight around her neck. She had been sitting there when I had pulled up. She was waiting by the main entrance, which was now fairly deserted. She was alone, and people had been walking right past her as though she wasn’t there. She was clearly waiting for a ride, but from whom? The taxis in this city are on strike, how long would she wait? Had a family member forgotten her? Is she cold? Does she need phone? How long has she been there?

These are all questions I could have pondered all the way home. But I didn’t. I turned around and wheeled up to her.

Me: “Are you ok ma’am?”

Her: startled, “Oh, yes, yes I’m fine”

Me: “Are you waiting for a ride?”

Her: “Yes”

Me: “How long have you been waiting? Do you want to use my phone?”

Her: “Oh I’ve been here since about 6pm I guess, not sure what’s taking them, but they’ll be along. They were going to Staples anyway so I told them to go to the one just up here and then come get me after.” (note: it was 6:45pm)

Me: “Alright, so you’re ok then, you’re warm enough?”

Her: “yes, yes I’m fine. Thanks just the same though” with a smile.

Me: “Ok, you have a good night.”

My mind at ease, I carried on to my van and drove home. I wondered about what made me stop and ask. I think I saw helplessness, real or imagined, I saw it. Having spent almost two weeks in a hospital bed, completely relying on the help of others, and often being left waiting helplessly due to understaffing (most of the time) or appalling indifference (only one nurse in particular), I saw someone that perhaps needed some kindness. I was in a position to help, and I just had to. Had she seemed distraught, I would have gone as far as driving her home myself. But she was fine. And perhaps the fact that a complete stranger cared enough to ask made her feel even more ok.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2009 7:20 pm

    Good for you, sweetheart! 🙂

  2. healthykitty permalink
    May 19, 2009 8:19 am

    so nice to hear!

    Very brave of you to go back to the hospital so soon!

  3. May 19, 2009 9:30 am

    So glad to hear you are able to drive again, and are regaining your strength.
    Bravo for being brave enough to return to the scene of the crime so to speak!
    And if I were that woman I would have felt very comforted by your concern and caring ways.

  4. May 20, 2009 5:41 pm

    I struck up a convo with a guy in the tortilla aisle at the grocery store today. He was humming a song that I had loved as a child.

    no sadness, no helplessness that I could see but I feel fulfilled that I connected with a human today.

    I think ultimately, you connected, you reached out and that, sir, is what makes you wonderful.

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