The Dance

November 1, 2011 No Comments   

As I called my patient’s name for registration I remember thinking how she was so well dressed and accessorized. Her outfit, hair, makeup and jewelry were just perfect. Yet, she looked so sad and barely responded to my introduction. My first thought was that she was upset with having to wait so I quickly apologized. It was then that the woman told me she didn’t mind waiting. She was in no hurry to go home. I reached across the desk and patted her on the hand.

Over the next ten minutes she went on to say that three months ago she had been diagnosed with cancer and when she told her husband of 19 years the news, he left. Distraught and unable to function she had lost her job. The only other family she had was her daughter so the agreement was made that she could move in with her family IF she cleaned the house and babysat for her three-year-old grandson.

Suffering from pneumonia and the symptoms of her cancer were making it almost unbearable for her to fulfill her end of the deal. Family tension was growing and she feared that she would be faced with no where to live. At the end of the registration I connected her with a couple of resources and we prayed together. When I went to hug her, she hung on to me and cried her heart out. I left work that day with a very somber heart thinking of how cruel this woman’s husband had been to her at her weakest hour.

Lost in thought I was jolted back to the errands I needed to run before heading home. On the top of my list was to stop at the Dollar General Store. Sitting in the parking lot making my list, I noticed a man in his early 60s dressed in dirty coveralls and boots getting out of his old car. A hard, long day of work was evident as he stretched before unloading the wheelchair from the trunk. Then with a slow gait he walked around the car and opened the passenger door.

Bending in slowly to kiss her cheek, he lifted the totally dependent woman from the car to the wheelchair. Once inside the store I noticed the interaction between the couple. This was a trip this woman had looked forward to all day long. This was their date, so her exhausted husband showed her all of his attention with great patience as she insisted on going up and down every aisle in the store.

Standing behind the couple in the checkout line I heard him teasing her about being such a big shopper as he paid for the two small bags of candy. I finished my checking out and then as I went to my car I witnessed one of the most precious acts of love that I’ve ever seen.

The man had picked his wife up and out of her wheelchair and was dancing with her in the parking lot to the music coming from another car radio. Both of them were smiling and fully absorbed in nothing else but each other and the moment.

As health care workers we often times see our patients at their worst. We never know what influences their moods, behaviors and their bodies’ ability to heal. But to witness love at its finest reminded me that we can never underestimate the positive response a little more attention, patience and love can make in another human being’s life. What a wonderful world it would be if more people took the time to try and make someone else’s day a little more bearable.

Carol Cothern, CHAM
Director of Patient Access
Flaget Memorial Hospital
4305 New Shepherdsville Road
Bardstown, KY 40004

Flaget Memorial Hospital

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