Begin Again Day Seventeen

Yesterday in class, our SEL book for the day was, The Invisible Boy. It is a book with a powerful message. We talked together after reading the book and realized that everyone feels invisible at different times. Fast forward to today, I am at the hospital with my husband, who is undergoing outpatient surgery. I am not overly nervous, but I wish we did not have to spend our day this way. The couple in front of us at the registration desk is struggling. It appears that the older gentleman is having surgery and his wife is here to support him. The girl at the registration desk is clearly out of patience. Did I mention it is 8am? The wife is asking too many questions for her liking and her responses are curt. When they get to the part of giving your cell number to receive updates on the surgery, the wife becomes even more anxious. After giving them her number, the girl tells her to check for a text from Northwestern. The woman struggles with her phone, apologizing for her lack of understanding. When she cannot locate the text, the girl tells her they will call her instead. She quickly gets up from her chair and hustles around the desk to usher them on to their next location. We are next and my focus switches back to our registration. After we sign in, we take the elevator upstairs and we are greeted by another employee with more information. At this point, my husband is taken through a corridor for his prep. I am told I will get a text when I can come back and meet him to wait with him before his surgery. I am led to another room to wait. The room is packed with people. I find a seat, and grab my book, but my mind is not focused enough to read. As I look around the room, I noticed the woman from earlier. She is fumbling with her phone. She is visibly upset. She is in a packed room full of people ( most of whom are also on their phones), but she is alone. I get up from my seat and walk over. I introduce myself and explain I was behind her in the registration line. I ask if there is anything I could do to help. She explains that she is afraid she will not get the call to join her husband. She explains that he is afraid of hospitals and would feel better with her by his side. She explains he is her heart. In her words, I hear not only her frustration but also how much she loves her husband. I love my husband. We have been married for 32 years, I have spent more of my life with him than without, and yet I can’t imagine loving someone for 64 years, which is how long this couple has been together. I check her phone and she tells me the phone was a gift from their daughter. They use the phone to make phone calls, and neither one of them texts. I decide this is probably not the time to learn a new skill, I ask her if she would mind if I talked to the nurse on her behalf. She happily agrees. I walk back to the information desk we stopped at after getting off the elevator. Now there is an older gentleman at the desk. His badge reads volunteer. I relay my story. He says he would be happy to walk over and personally escort this woman back to the surgical bay waiting area as soon as he gets word that her husband has been prepped. I thank him for his help and let her know the new plan. I immediately see a change come over her body. She reaches for my hand and with a squeeze thanks me. I tell her I was happy to help. And just like her, I will wait in my seat until they text my phone to tell me I can join the man who holds my heart.


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