Monday, January 14, 2008

Considered While Waiting In Day Surgery For a Friend

I know that I could easily deposit you at the hospital day surgery and that you would be in good hands.

I know “real” people do this sort of thing all the time.

I know that my sitting here, reading, checking email, playing with my Blackberry is not the most efficient use of my time. Despite my proclivity for magical thinking, I really do know that my presence in this room while you undergo a minor surgery will not affect how well the surgeon cuts, or how attentive the nurses are, or how quickly or easily you will levitate above all the anesthesia they will pump into your body.

Here is what is scratching at me:

I don’t believe that we are supposed to deposit people at hospitals and then go off to do our business. These are not grocery stores or the movies. The way that health care is not just a business, and that while the free market can maybe deliver effective health care, it cannot deliver compassionate health care.

One needs to be claimed in places like hospitals. One needs a connection to the normal world, the one where life and death is less compressed. Someone needs to be there to claim you when you return, when you are wheeled out. Otherwise, it is like the sadness of luggage going around and around on those carousels at airports. Something needs to pull you off and say “You are part of me!”

This is a stake in the ground that holds you fast when everything else is flies at you in millions of pieces.

I also believe this is true of Airports and meetings with one’s oncologists.

There are places in our lives that try to claim our souls, that try to turn us into coins that we pump into vending machines and the prospect of no one waiting, no unbridled joy at the return is too much for me to bear.

Everything hangs on a thread in this life and fortunes really do turn on a dime.
When I choose to error, I always want to be on the side of presence over absence.

How about you?

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