Jody was having trouble breathing last night. I called 911 and the paramedics arrived quickly. Once she had the oxygen mask on for a few minutes, Jody felt better. She decided not to go to Emergency.
What a moment in time for me, to stay silent in response to Jody’s decision, while yearning to have her fully checked out in the hospital. In the words of Shantideva, an ancient Buddhist sage, “It’s then that like a log you should remain.” Jody gets to choose.
This morning, she once again was struggling for air. And Jody chose ambulance. I wondered as we headed down the road for the St. Thomas-Elgin Hospital if she would ever come home again.
It turned out that Jody has a lung infection with some fluid buildup. Not the re-emergence of blood clots nor the spectre of imminent death. Now she’s sleeping soundly beside me at home, with an antibiotic coursing through her, and nasal prongs delivering oxygen. (Sigh) Perhaps Jody’s time on Earth is short but this is not the day of leaving.
I am so blessed to have people stroll into my life, happy to be in my world. Today’s angels included:
1. Two young paramedics, a man and a woman, both with big smiles, kind words, and funny words. “The unbearable lightness of being”, as one movie was aptly titled.
2. The resident doctor who smiled so fully at Jody and me. She sparkled. And her words were wise, coming from a place far beyond her years.
3. The emergency doc who first saw Jody a year ago, and both compassionately and assertively suggested that she may have cancer. He was “with her” both then and today, showing me how the contact of the moment outstrips the content.
4. The pharmacy technician who saw that I needed the antibiotic in a hurry, who saw in my fear the deep love I have for my wife, and who pulled strings to get me what I needed quickly. Our eyes truly met when I said thank you.
5. The respiratory therapist who saw Jody briefly in hospital and then came to our place tonight to comfort her with air and love, and who patiently showed me how to operate the equipment, returning to a task when she saw I was confused. She realized that I was “gone”, and allowed her caring to flow.
Out of the woodwork they come
Out of their phone booths
Out of their skin