I go to the hospital monthly, to have a shot to keep my hearing up, in a facility called, The Infusion Center. Now I’m there for something minor, compared to the cast of chemo patients that never fail to humble me.
They’ve now made each room a semi-private, so today, as I’m leaving, a middle-aged black man was brought in for his very first chemotherapy treatment.
I smile, say hello, noticing right away the man’s petrified. Mind you, he has three young women all in scrubs fussing over him, but not one, looks him in the eye. They’re chatting about lunch, where to go…pizza…sushi…Chinese again?
I feel my mother over my shoulder. See her in the corner of my eye in that black dress she always wore on special occasions, with heels and dark hose, her gold Rhingold hoops swinging from her ears.
I sit in the chair next to the man whose blood pressure they’re taking and say, “are you by yourself…did anyone come with you?”
“No,” he says, “I’m here alone.”
“Would you mind if I stayed while you had your shot?”
“Oh you can’t, said Katrina the nurse, her dreds sensing dread, “you’re not family, only family can do that.”
“Really…so, Bill is it (read his chart), how bout if you make me an honorary member so we can chat.”
“Really? You’ll stay? Yeah I’d like it…I’m, well, I’m not feelin quite myself.”
I look at Katrina like a dog that’s about to bite.
“Okay,” she says, “but we’ll keep it quiet.”
“Right.” No Ma, we’re not locking her in the utility closet.
So Bill and I talk, while he has his procedure with me doing everything imaginable to make him laugh. By the end, he’s a different guy.
Now you’re thinking, great story, but there’s more.
As I’m leaving, I hear someone say, “Excuse me, I’d like a word with you.”
There’s a fat, Waspy looking woman in a lab coat, her glasses perched on her nose, coming towards me.
“Who do you think you are, breaking rules? I heard what you did, and you had no right interfering with, I’ll call him, Mr. Wilcox.”
Now all bets are off.
“WHO ARE YOU TO ADMONISH ME, OR ANYONE, FOR A SIMPLE ACT OF COMPASSION. THAT MAN WAS SO FRIGHTENED AND NO ONE HAD THE COURTESY TO ADDRESS IT. WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY?”
“I’M THE ADMINISTRATOR, AND THOSE GIRLS WORK UNDER ME.”
“THEN THOSE GIRLS NEED A TUTORIAL IN HUMANITY. DO YOU GET IT? AND HERE’S SOMETHING ELSE, WHO’S YOUR ADMINISTRATOR, WANT ME TO GO TALK TO THEM?”
She was like a dingy that just deflated.
“That’s not necessary.”
“Really, are you sure, because if you say one more word to me about that sweet man who just needed a little love, you’re gonna be sorry.”
This is a side of me I only take out for special occasions, like my mother’s dress. So, when she turned and walked away, I wasn’t surprised. Pollyanna turned into my mother, who even from the grave, you don’t want to mess with.
You can leave now Ma, I have this one covered .