Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hospital Experience #7: Thank You, Merry

Dear Merry,

How can I ever thank you for your friendship and support throughout the recent hospital experience we shared.

The moment I told you about the medical procedure I needed, you immediately offered to accompany me - to drive me to the hospital and stay with me the whole time. I didn't even have to ask - you were so quick to offer. Thank you, Merry.

In the weeks and days leading up to the hospital procedure, you listened deeply to me. You allowed me to express my feelings, and you have so kindly and gently helped me to see ways that I make myself anxious - such as repeating all the 101 stories I know about everything that can go wrong in a hospital! Because you have made me aware of this unhelpful behavior, I was largely able to stop myself from doing it! Thank you, Merry.

You have willingly taken on the heavy responsibility of being my back-up medical power of attorney person, in the event that my primary power of attorney person should be unable to act. This is a huge responsibility to assume for a friend. It has given me great peace of mind to know that, should I become unable to make medical decisions for myself and should my primary power of attorney person be unable to act for me, decisions about my welfare would be made by such a dear and trusted friend as you are. Thank you, Merry.

You got up very early to get me to the hospital well in advance of the 6 a.m. appointment time. You even agreed to leave fifteen minutes earlier than we had planned because I got nervous about arriving early enough to allow for parking and for negotiating all the hospital corridors. You are not a morning person, and I know that this cost you, but you were willing to do it for me. Thank you, Merry.

At the hospital, you took the stairs with me rather than the elevator, even though we were carrying my belongings, because you know that I am scared of elevators. Thank you, Merry.

Once in the hospital room, you were immediately attentive to my comfort, finding a way to adjust the hospital gown so that it fit more comfortably. Thank you, Merry.

You were constantly alert to what I might need, especially in communicating with the hospital staff. When I asked for two extra pillows and the nurse indicated that it might not be so easy to find them, you jumped right in to explain that I needed them to help me stay in position at night while using my C-PAP machine for sleep apnea. You made sure the nurse knew that I was expressing a real need and not just a personal preference for extra pillows. Thank you, Merry.

You held my hand and comforted me as the nurse tried to find a vein for the IV port and I became more and more upset. This couldn't have been pleasant for you, and yet you stayed right there with your calm and calming presence. Thank you, Merry.

You helped me to keep perspective when things upset me - such as the above-mentioned nurse, whom I found to be "dreadful" and whom you found to be "not a good match for you." Yet you were fully accepting of my extremely negative feelings about the nurse, and because of that, although I didn't show it at the time, I really took in your more balanced perspective about her to reflect on later. Often over the years, you have nudged me toward a more balanced view of life by lovingly accepting my feelings and gently offering a different perspective. Thank you, Merry.

You allowed me to express irritation without losing your own calm and steadiness. And I know that I was at times quite irritated. I was not pleasant company at those times, yet you remained your loving self toward me. Thank you, Merry.

You were thoroughly prepared to talk with the doctor after the procedure. You asked the doctor every question on the list I had given you, and you wrote down the answers for me. This was extremely helpful. Thank you, Merry.

You were ready to make a series of telephone calls to friends and family members right after I came out of the procedure, some to people you hadn't even met. Thank you, Merry.

You kept vigil for me at the hospital while I was in the procedure room. You were there. I wasn't alone. Thank you, Merry.

You stayed with me throughout the loooooong afternoon when I had to lie still for several hours. It was comforting to have you in the room with me. Thank you, Merry.

You very sweetly fed me my banana lunch and held a cup of water for me to drink so that I could have a mid-day meal without lifting my head. Thank you, Merry.

You didn't freak out during the bleeding incident in the bathroom. You were right there, calm and calming as ever. Thank you, Merry.

At every moment, you made it so easy for me to accept your help without feeling awkward or embarrassed. Thank you, Merry.

You drove me home in the afternoon and carried ALL my belongings upstairs to my apartment. Thank you, Merry.

It was a very long day for you of constant giving, and yet your support and attentiveness never wavered. Thank you, Merry.

I am richly blessed to have you as a friend. Thank you for being there for me in so many large and small ways during this hospital experience and over the years. Your friendship is a great joy in my life.

Thank you, Merry.

With Love & Gratitude,
Karen Ashley

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