Raw. Exposed. Hurting: How Hospital Stays Helped Me See What Is Truly Important (and it wasn’t just my health)

loving each other

Guilt.  That’s what I feel every time I ring the call bell.  I’m bothering them. 

Yet, each time the nurse enters compassion fills the room.  She attends to my need with a smile and a tender hand. 

                Can I get you anything else? 

Just ring if you need me.

These words stick with me and it takes me a while to figure out why. 

And then I get it: these words tell me what it means to be human: to have compassion and to rely on someone else and be loved.

In the hospital you are exposed, vulnerable. Every little thing may mean you have to call the nurse.  Water?  Help up to use the bathroom? Even your body is literally exposed in the cotton Johnny and you get used to your butt open to the elements. 

I wanted to do more for myself, to be more independent, but I couldn’t.  And I felt guilty.

And yet that’s what made the experience all the more meaningful. 

I realized hospital stays create environments that bring us together to feel deep emotions, to comfort and encourage, to be interconnected, and to be vulnerable and still feel valued. 

After every hospital stay I’ve left feeling humbled, valued, and fuller.  People truly cared about me and my well being and helped me get well.  If it was someone else in the hospital, the feeling was the same: they cared about my loved one and honored our worries, concerns, and needs. 

I feel like we can be our best selves in the midst of struggle and adversity in a hospital, to show true compassion and love for one’s neighbor and truly make a difference in the life of another. 

And that is what life is all about.

A beautiful thing.

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