Enough Bad News, Let's Have Some Good Blog News for a Change
Thank you, Generous Stranger
The waiting room outside the surgical holding area was pleasant, but devoid of any hospital personnel. Chairs, tables and couches were there, but no flesh-and-blood person to offer information, comfort or any reassurance.
I was alone and had no idea how long the surgery would be. Someone I dearly loved was having serious surgery, but she was behind a locked door. So I waited alone in this large empty room.
Then an elderly couple came in, the man hunched, the wife looking stoic, They collapsed in the chair near me. We smiled, but no words.
The husband busied himself on his phone, while his wife pulled out her's, too. In muffled voices, they carried on conversations, her's with an occasional laugh. How could they laugh? This was surgery?
The room was almost empty and the couple and I were left to consider the silence. A few calls on her cell and the woman slipped it back into her purse. Gazing over at me, she asked, "Are you hungry?"
"No, not really," I responded.
"Yes, but you could use a little something," she fairly whispered as she got up and walked away.
Within minutes, they were both back with three small brown, paper bags.
"Here," she said, handing a cello-wrapped tuna salad sandwich (complete with pickle slice) in my direction. How could I refuse? Why I asked the next question I will never know. Perhaps it was her husband's long white beard or her covered head.
"Is it kosher?"
Nodding her head as though it could be nothing but kosher, she answered, "Of course!"
I ate it dutifully with the bottle of water she also pointed in my direction.
Later, they would bring me in to meet their disabled son who required surgery several times a year for an accident at his first skiing jaunt. Now, a young man in his 20s, he had neither speech, nor the use of his legs or arms, and his eyes rolled around in his head as though they were shiny, blue loose balls.
"He wanted to go skiing and I didn't want him to," she almost moaned. He'd gone and smashed into a tree, leaving him in a permanently brain-damaged state.
I tried a semi-cheery "Hello" to him and he contorted slightly as though somewhere in all those damaged parts of him there was awareness. To me, this was the most bitter task for him and his parents, a person locked inside a body that refused to obey his wishes.
A nurse came and told me it was time to wait in the recovery area. I wished them well, thanked them for the sandwich, and wondered what he would do when they were no longer there. I think of them still.