Yesterday I took a friend to the hospital for same day surgery. When we arrived, I pulled the car up to the front door and a young lady assisted my friend into a wheelchair. She offered to have my car parked but I was familiar with the parking lot and I wanted a breath of fresh air and time away from my friend. The 35 minute ride from Cambridge to Bennington, VT had been one of constant chatter about T V programs and foods that can be purchased at Hannaford that aren’t available at the IGA. This was mostly a monologue since my friend is hard of hearing and does best when you are looking and speaking directly to her. I didn’t think this was a good thing to do while I was driving.
So I park the car; collect my bag with phone, books and knitting-I am not good at sitting so I always come prepared; get her sleep machine-just in case she has to stay over- and make my way to the lobby where she is waiting in the wheelchair with her bag on her lap. I march right over and start to push. Well, I know that my friend is not a little woman. In fact, she is somewhat heavy, but this is ridiculous. How am I supposed to move her and all our stuff in this awkward tank! I am attempting to push when a man passing by says, “Brakes. You need to release the brakes.” Feeling like an idiot, I look at the wheels and see that yes indeed, there are clamp like things pressed up against them and somehow I manage to release them. It’s fair to say that besides being technically challenged, I am a bit mechanically challenged, too.
I navigated the hallways and elevator like a pro; got her to her destination and left her in the hospital’s capable hands. I now had three hours of my own to play and I did.
Usually when I am in Bennington it involves work and I am always rushing. I took a leisurely stroll along Main Street of this quaint New England town. Of course, I was sucked right into my favorite clothing store where they made me try things on resulting in a small purchase. I even had time to sit in a café and sip a cup of cappuccino while reading my book club book. What a treat!
I returned to the waiting room at the appointed and received a phone call that my friend was doing fine and would be ready in thirty minutes. I had time to read a few more pages before getting the car and meeting her at the front door. It was fine and dandy with me that hospital staff would bring her out.
The ride home was a bit quieter as she was still feeling the effects of the procedure. We went to the pharmacy, where I left her in the car, went in to get her prescription filled and walked down the street to pick up the Chinese food she had ordered. I then took her to her apartment, carried everything in and made sure all was ok.
Wow! For many of you what I did was not a big deal but for me it was a first. It is known by my friends that I don’t deal with sick people. My forte’ is dealing with the dead. I am much more comfortable going to the hospital morgue with a removal cot than going to the waiting room pushing a wheelchair.
I came out of my comfort zone to help a friend, a friend of 37 years, and it was a wonderful experience. It wasn’t just about getting her to the hospital, it was about giving her my time; about giving of myself. That is what real friendship is about. I thank my friend for giving me the opportunity to be a friend.
Every day that we learn something is a good day. Yesterday, I learned that wheelchairs have brakes and that I can release them!
Have a great day and let’s see what we can learn today.