Monday, October 17, 2011

Hospital Tales

By Candice, Spirochicks contributor 
Originally posted on Infectiously Optimistic 

Beep.....Beep......Beep......Beep.......

Thursday evening, a thin partitioning sheet separated my gurney from the gurney just a foot from mine. My neighboring hospital bed was empty upon my admittance to the Emergency Department, but a few hours into my stay, I watched the shadow of a new patient settle in, and listened to the worried voice of their accompanying loved one, intermittently interrupted by the intrusive sounds of inflating blood pressure cuffs and beeping machines. As the triage nurse brushed by the curtain separating us, the sheet rippled as it caught the air of the nurse’s brisk wake, and for a fleeting moment I was able to harbor a glimpse of the two beside me. The patient laying in the hospital bed was a pale elderly woman, her silver-haired husband sitting in a chair by her side. As time elapsed, she was wheeled in and out of the area for a number of tests, her husband always shuffling in tow of her traveling bed. Eventually, the couple was visited by neurologist clad in a crisp white overcoat, who informed the elderly woman that she had suffered a small stroke. She had lost the use of one of her arms, but she’d be treated and monitored, and she’d be okay. The doctor proceeded to educate the couple about the further neurological testing that would be required and the rehabilitation that would ensue in the following weeks as they tried to help her regain her strength and the use of her impaired limb. I listened to the thick silence as the news sunk in. Finally, the woman replied:

“But how will I do my hair?”

I imagined that she was referring to her inability to use the arm that she naturally relied on. I listened for her husband’s response. To my surprise, I almost sensed a smile behind the tone of his voice. I watched the shadow of his raised hand as he lifted it to gently pat his wife on the top of the head.

“Oh honey, I’ll brush your hair. I’ll put your curlers in for you too.”

Now that's love.
 
 
Illness has a way of stripping life of glamor, glitz, and the nuances that blind us to what lays before us. Illness exposes weaknesses while unearthing strength, and reveals what is real and what was merely smoke and mirrors. It quakes a life until its cracks widen and what is feeble falls away, and leaves what is relentlessly real standing clearly in front of us. Living life with an illness has proven to be one of the truest ways to live and has blessed me with the opportunity to witness raw courage, true compassion, and authentic love. For that, I am grateful.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

this brought tears to my eyes. you've perfectly described how illness has affected my life - the good, bad and the ugly. thank you for putting this into words so beautifully. I've shared this with several friends already.

Kim said...

Candice,

So poignant. Without having been ill, I wouldn't have been able to have witnessed my husbands capacity for love and loyalty.

I would love to post this to gratitude365.

Willow Firefly said...

The last paragraph of your post was amazing and wildly inspiring. Thank you!

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Simon Tufal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon Tufal said...

I would say you perfectly described how illness effected one persons life, whatever the disease is as i suffered form minor fettabsaugung operation Behandlung and i know i had a tough time.