7/25/2008

Met Some Interesting People…



…during my stay in the hospital this month. It was unusual in that people I didn’t even know would stop by my room to ask how I was doing. It was just ordinary people who were at the hospital to visit their relatives, friends, etc. I didn’t mind it at all. I’m just not the type of person that could ever do that. But, it’s gratifying to know there are people who are complete strangers who are kind enough to inquire about your health.

One elderly gentleman (even older than I am) came into my room, asked if it was alright. He was there with his wife of 48 years. She had suffered a stroke at a July 4th picnic and was still in the hospital. He seemed perturbed about that, quite naturally. But, he was very friendly. As we began to talk about ourselves, he revealed he had worked as a system engineer at NASA during the Gemini space missions and up to Apollo 13. It was the Apollo 13 mission with Astronauts James Lovell (Mission Commander), John L. Swigert, Jr., (Command Module Pilot), and Fred W. Haise, (Lunar Module Pilot). Apollo 13 is the one that nearly exploded to pieces in space on the way to the moon. As a result of that near catastrophe, people were “shuffled” around. He said he decided it was time for him to move on to other endeavors. I know some might say you have to take people with a grain of salt, that you don’t know, come in and start talking like this. But, he seemed to be the genuine deal. I was impressed. A really nice guy.

I had just finished my physical therapy on the third day of my four day hospital stay when a familiar looking man about my age came into my room. He was grinning and asked me if I knew who he was. I told him he looked very familiar. But, I could not place his face with a name. It was none other than Big Ben Janaskowski from my high school days! I had not seen him in over 15 years. I should have known him right away. Big Ben seemed a bit hurt I couldn’t remember his name. He was not one of my favorite people in high school. Remember the really big guy in high school who was a complete horse’s ass, but everyone was afraid to call him on it because he could kill you? That was Big Ben. He mellowed out over the years as most of us do. He was still a police detective in upstate New York. But, he just strictly worked cold case files now. He was in Mobile to visit a sister who had taken ill from an undisclosed disease. Ben was still mostly his old arrogant self. However, it seemed to be mostly in good fun. I never thought I would see him again after our last high school reunion. At least, that was my sincere hope. But, he is at least tolerable now.

Last and certainly not least, I must remember Sister Martha who I briefly mentioned in the “Back in the Saddle Again” entry. That lady, at the absolute most, was 4’10 and maybe, MAYBE 85lbs. But, as I said in my entry, she was a giant to me, particularly on that hellish first night. She stayed with me throughout that terrible afternoon and stayed the entire night. Sister Martha knelt down by my bed and prayed for me for so long. I want to say hours. But, that doesn’t seem possible. It just seemed that way to me. I guess the nurses had heard me moaning and yelling out in pain that first day. She joined me at some point during that first night. She was a saint. She came back that afternoon of the second day to check on me and prayed some more. I didn’t see her again after that second day. I inquired about her. But, one nurse told me Sister Martha was on to visit other patients who needed her, just as I did.

Even though I am not Catholic, on that first day of my surgery, I think it was safe to say (to paraphrase the surgeon who operated on President Ronald Reagan after his assassination attempt), “Today, we are all Catholics.”

3 comments:

Thanks for sharing, David. These examples of the persons you meet help us feel we were a bit more there with you through your hospital stay, even as we were here helping to pray you through.

God Bless Sister Martha.

'met' not 'meet'. Sorry. Didn't re-read before hitting enter... ;-)

Angela, thanks for the prayers and comments. I really hope and pray I don't go through that again. Sister Martha is someone you meet only once in life.

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