On Monday, I had one of my most difficult days ever in battling neurological illness. It was painful, frustrating, scary and I felt alone because my doctors weren't listening.
I haven't been able to post almost anything since... all I can think of is the struggle sometimes.
But then, I remembered two strangers people who made a positive difference in my day on Monday.
Amid the emotions of my parents and I struggling to define, treat and understand my illness...I almost succumbed to believing the ugliest things I could about humanity.
But - There was a serviceman in full uniform. He was walking from the
exit of the hospital, and saw my mom trying to find a parking spot as I struggled not to
throw up in the passenger's seat. My mom, was muttering that I should
hold on, she was doing her best. She cited a study she'd read, that
said that when a person is leaving a parking spot, they take 15 to 20
seconds longer if they see someone else is waiting for the spot.... When
we saw the man in uniform wave at us and signal that he was preparing
to get into a car in a particular spot, near the door. He wanted to
make sure we saw him, and got it.
In the midst of feeling just
awful, I still had a moment of reassurance about humanity, about the
people who are representing our nation at this young man's simple act of
The second, came after my doctors had told me there was
nothing to do, and just leave. While my mother continued to plead and
beg... I sat on the floor in the hallway and wept. Other doctors,
nurses and staff simply stepped over me. None even asked if I was ok.
But then, an elderly woman got off the elevator. She stood for a moment
watching me cry, and then said, "Excuse me, I know it's none of my
business, but are you ok?"
I said, "NO! I think I am going to die and the doctors don't believe me."
She put her hand on my shoulder. She told me that it isn't my time.
And then she said something, I haven't heard, except in family folklore, since
just before my grandma had her stroke and could no longer speak.
said, "You can do this, if you do your best, but it will take your
best." Those were the exact words my grandmother had always used to
encourage me. (Later, when I remembered what the woman had said, and recounted to my mom, her eyes filled with tears, knowing the meaning of this phrase... My father sat listening, doing a double take as I spoke, apparently pondering it as well.)
That woman stood with me, hand on my shoulder, until my mother came and then she went on her way.
Everyone else walked by, but she stopped for me. She assured me of another day. When the hospital staff stepped over me, she called them out, "Shame on you, aren't you a doctor?" The doctors walked by, as if they didn't see or hear either one of us.
I share this because the message of these two people is important. With the
simplest of actions, a wave and a hand on my shoulder, I was shown the
redemption of the human spirit when I was at my lowest point. The value
of simple human integrity and empathy knows no bounds. I am truly
grateful to have witnessed this, and to share it with you.
I would also like to take this moment to thank Ivinson Memorial Hospital of Laramie, Wyoming. When my parents rushed me over the pass to your care from this frightful experience, we knew we would be treated with empathy. In my depth of pain and despair, I knew that the ER doc who knows my name and my illness, was there working for me and others. I did not mind my wait, for the baby who needed a life-flight to get care first. I did however, muchly appreciate the loving care with which my nurse, Maria (whom I promised a blog nod) gently provided not one but two warm blankets, prompt nausea medicine... And a pillow! These small comforts were much needed. Thank you, to my care givers, to my family, to my readers, to my hometown docs... I know you'll get me through this. Love is all we need.