Once again we called 911, bringing the ambulance to take my wife to the ER with an annoying health issue. We have been there three times in the past month. You're never quite sure whether to call 911 and bring the ambulance with all the flashing lights and sirens, but I have learned to opt for the side of caution. After a night in the ER, my wife was admitted to the hospital where she remained for a week. Here are a few observations from that week.
- Health care professionals are truly our guardian angels when we are in need of urgent care. Nurses, student nurses, hospital staff, doctors, physician's assistants are generally and incredibly dedicated to kindness, encouragement, and compassionate care.
- I can't even begin to count the numbers of health care professionals needed to staff a hospital.
- The elderly lady at the reception desk had been volunteering at that desk for ten years.
- A young man had dropped out of college a year and a half ago to earn money to support his ailing mother and then to have time to take care of her.
- A nurse with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics wondered why politicians were so ignorant about basic principles of finance and economics. Imagine.
- The initial surgeon (my wife did not require surgery) had been operating until 6:00 a.m. on the first day he visited my wife just a couple of hours later and then worked the remainder of that day.
- After a week on only IV's, the hospital staff brought my wife her first "real" food: clam chowder. My wife hates clam chowder.
- The hours are long, long, long in the hospital. Pacing the corridors, sitting for hours in uncomfortable chairs, waiting for my wife to recover, the time ticks slowly, slowly off the clock.
- Hospital beds remain torture chambers, uncomfortable, making your seat sore. When connected to a half dozen hoses, tubes, etc., you just lie there and endure.
- Nurses who smile and spread sunshine make people well faster than those coldly efficient ones who lack a human touch so critical to help people get well.
- Neighbors, friends, family and even people we don't even know performed incredible acts of kindness and support. We would never make it without them and our gratitude is boundless. Learning to accept help after being independent "doing it ourselves" all of our lives is a lesson in both humility and thankfulness.
- You can quickly adjust from an occasional random prayer to more prayers than you have offered in decades. You just hope someone is listening. And answering. And is willing in a pinch to overlook your years of slothfulness and answer your prayers anyway.
- Hope remains the guiding light in a health crisis.
Now my wife is home again and we are back to our regular routine. We remain thankful for hospitals and EMTs and ambulance personnel and nurses and doctors and the entire cast of people who help make us well. But we hope we don't have to see them again for awhile.