In my ongoing 'mission' as an 'observationist' on this planet, I try to step back and notice as much as possible, even when the situation might not be optimal to take in all the details. Case in point: My recent trip to the ER on Sunday.
Now I must admit that I was a bit alarmed when, based on my symptoms, my OBGYN instructed me to go to the hospital emergency room and to possibly prepare for surgery. That sort of news over the phone on a lazy Sunday morning can be a bit disconcerting. But I immediately agreed with her and bolted for the door as quickly as I could. This didn't seem to be something to dawdle over.
In the midst of the slightly panicked state (all day, by the way...waiting for surgery), there was something in my surroundings that stood out for me - something very positive: People.
I had every flavor of medical personnel in and out of my room all day long -- doctors, nurses, orderlies, people taking blood, bringing me blankets, taking my vitals, bringing me ice chips. All day long. And everyone was so nice and caring. It got me to start thinking about people who make their living caring about other people. Amazing, really.
I thought about what it must take for them to get up every day, work long hours, care for sick strangers all day and night, deal with emotions, bodily functions, other people's baggage...and still smile and offer a kind word. That's a real gift. Those people are truly angels among us. And I don't think you can really appreciate them until you are the one laying on the gurney.
There were the OR nurses -- large, portly women who would be considered relatively unattractive by shallow standards, yet they smiled and lightly chatted with me on my way into the OR, and their inner beauty radiated. And the anesthesiologist who smiled and joked with me before 'making me sleepy'....the last person I'd see on this planet, if anything happened. And the sweet nurse who kept bringing me ice chips because they would not let me drink water, and she knew I hadn't had a drop of anything all day. All angels among us, every one of them.
Though they will never read this, I'd like to offer my gratitude to all the people who poked and prodded on me on Sunday...not only for their trained talents, but more for their attitudes and the comfort they offered. I was truly amazed, in awe and thankful.
And I actually feel grateful for the experience, because I walked away with a humble, positive feeling from it. The people made the difference, hands down.