Thursday, October 13, 2011

At the Hospital

We checked in at the desk in the cardiology dept. We'd no sooner gotten through the signing of the forms when a tall young man summoned Mom to follow him. As I watched her walk away, through the doors which would take her into the nuclear medicine area where I could not accompany her. I felt a little sad as I knew, from experience, what she'd be doing for the next few hours, and it would make her nervous not to have me near. She was about to undergo a 3-4 hour stress test where she'd be injected with nuclear dye which would make her heart race for a few minutes, while the doctor followed the action on a monitor.  It isn't such a bad test, but when you are a legally blind, partially deaf, 85 year old woman, all the waiting (much of it alone) and having nothing to do can be a bit upsetting.

I heard that familiar sound of Mom's cane clicking against the floor and then she was out of hearing distance and out of sight as the doors closed behind her.  I turned and went to the waiting room, choosing a seat at the end of the row near a small table. From there, I could watch the comings and goings of hospital personnel and where I'd be able to see Mom coming when she'd be ushered out. I tried to read, but it was impossible for me to do with the wall-hung tv blaring on the Fox channel. I thumbed through a current issue of Woman's Day magazine, absorbing very little.

Before long, I heard a male voice at the desk in the hall. I looked up to see two elderly men. One was a patient, the other was his younger brother. They came into the waiting room and chose chairs in 'my' row, leaving one vacant between us. The younger man looked at me, and as is the custom here in the south when someone looks you in the eye, I smiled and said good morning.  It was the beginning of a conversation which went on for the remainder of the morning, until they were called to see the older man's doctor.

Mr. M. was easy to talk with, a true gentle man. He was a soft-spoken Christian man, and it was obvious in his statements and in his testimonies. Mr. M. told me that he's 84 years old and in very good health. His wife, he said, is not doing so well. He has two brothers and a sister, the oldest of whom is 93 years old, the youngest one, 78 years old.  He spent his life as a farmer, starting out with cotton until the textile industry was sent overseas, and the local mills closed. Afterward they grew grains, and now they are, in his words, 'just cruising.'  Being a northerner, I'm not familiar with the growing of cotton, and asked him if what we were told was true. "Does cotton deplete the soil so that it's not good for other crops?" He told me, "Not at all. You just harvest your crop, the machines cut the remainders, and it goes back into the soil. You feed your land the nutrients, and it'll grow things. Leave it alone, and you'll struggle."   We talked about women's fashions after a very tall, large-boned but not heavy, woman hobbled by wearing tall wedged shoes that had straps all around the ankle...and a skirt that met her leg about six inches above the knee.  He shook his head and said with a chuckle, "I don't understand".  We talked much about the Lord, about church, about how some churches present over-bearing "requests" for people in church to 'serve the Lord' in specific places. We agreed that service is important, but that ministries can range from a mother staying home to minister to her young children, rather than hiring a sitter, so that her husband can go to choir rehearsal, all the way to the Pastor's position.  He said "there will be lots of time later for that young mother to minister in the church, should the Lord lead her to do that."

We passed the time away in pleasant conversation, until Mr. M's brother was called in for his appointment. Off they went, leaving me with thanks God for bring me someone so kind to share the morning with. I didn't find out where the man lived, or what his name was, other than to hear the nurse call his brother by name. I thought I'd never see him again, but when Mom and I returned yesterday to the hospital for removal of the 24 hour monitor, guess who I met at the elevator! This time, the meeting was brief, as we needed to make our appointment, but what a joy to see him again and introduce him to Mom!

The Lord is good, bringing just the right person along, at just the right time, for just the right reasons..... and I'm grateful!


  1. What a pleasant way to spend time in the waiting room! I hope your mom is doing okay?

  2. What a joy on an otherwise unpleasant day..I hope your Momma is doing ok...