Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Faces become familiar
While walking down the halls in the hospital, traveling with a group of people in the elevator or standing in line at the cafeteria trying to decide what to have to eat, I start to notice other people and wonder what their stories are. I see the sadness and worry in their eyes. I see some patients that haven't had anyone come and visit them. I wonder how long someone can last without any support or encouragement being alone like that.
There is a cancer patient that goes in to have her chemo treatments the same time that Charlie does. She seems to always be in the room next to Charlie. I have seen her walk around the halls with a group of friends that have no hair; she doesn't either (which is not unusual on the fifth floor). At first I thought that maybe they all met in a cancer support group. Then the husband came in and I noticed that he was also bald. I then came to the conclusion that they all shaved their head to show support for their friend/wife. I also noticed that this lady always had someone spend the night with her whether it was her husband or one of her friends. After her chemo finished, her husband would bring their four children in to see her. Coming back from getting something special for Charlie that he wanted, I saw that her children were all tucked in bed with her as she read them a book. Her husband took them home and then one of her girlfriends came in to stay. They had a system. A continuous support system.
At times she has "a girls night" in her room. All of her friends come and you would think that there was a party going on in her room. They can be heard laughing, singing, gossiping and just having a good time. Heck! I wanted to go into her room and be a part of that. I would sit in Charlie's room and admire the friendships this lady had with her friends. It made me think about shaving my head for someone, so I asked Charlie if he wanted me to shave my head for him to show support. He laughed and said, "No!" chuckling the whole time... he thought that was pretty funny. I have to admit I was relieved. I still think that shows a great deal of love they have for their friend.
One night as I was walking to the elevator to head home, her husband had gotten into the elevator with me. It was just him and I. He had a million questions about our situation as I did with theirs. We expressed our thoughts for good will and prayers for each other's plight. We genuinely cared. You could feel the hope for good and happy endings in that elevator and an elevated energy bursting out as the doors opened. It followed as we walked down the hall talking as fast as we could until our paths separated, only to run into her girlfriend with her overnight bag. I felt enormous gratitude for this lady with cancer and her friends sticking by her through a time like this. I felt like I was witnessing something special.
Now that Charlie's week has been moved a week later than her stay at the hospital together, I won't being seeing them anymore. I have been taught by their show of support and love for this lady and how they are in it for the long haul. I was very touched by this.
I don't think I will ever forget it.