Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Substitutions OK.

hug it out.

 Hugs P.R.N.  (as needed)
Refills: unlimited
Generics and substitutions OK.

Today while sitting on the wards writing notes at Grady:

"Excuse me. . . "

I look up and a pale, thin youngish woman is standing on the other side of the nurses' station.  She was wearing two hospital gowns, one forward and one backward, but what stood out most was this big smile on her face. It was almost scary big, actually. Anyways, there were several resident physicians and students scattered around the area doing work. Although this patient's scary big smile was nonspecific and seemed to be aimed at everyone, for some reason, she zeroed in on me.

Aaaahh, of course she did.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Can I ask you a question?"

Oh Lawd.  This wasn't a "do you know where financial counseling is?" or "can you tell me where the restroom is?" kind of "can I ask you a question."  It was loaded. Kind of like the day that man totally caught me off guard with the race question last year.

"Sure, ma'am,"  I finally answered.

Why not? At worst it would be slightly inappropriate like asking me to discharge her or take out her IV right now or write for some kind of narcotic pain medicine. At ultra-worst it would involve me getting up off my tukas and escorting her somewhere way out of my way or her being psychotic. At best it would be amusing-- and at ultra-best it would be blogworthy.  (I'm always keeping my eyes open for new material.)

Now here's what's funny.  I was thinking blogworthy like . . . . like that day Roy A. called me to tell me that there was a dude standing in the middle of the Grady atrium playing a rusty trumpet.  Okay, so I was already gone that day, so didn't get to see it with my own eyes, (but I still deem it a suitable example of juicy blogworthy material.)

Anywho.  I didn't know what this lady was going to ask me.  I was about to find out.

With her scary-ish smile, she quietly asked. . . .

"Would you be willing to hug a stranger?"

Wait, huh?

"Excuse me?" I asked for clarification. I couldn't help but notice every other person getting exponentially more industrious with whatever they were being industrious on.  Ummm hmmmm. Their looks said. . . .

Hug a stranger? A stranger with a scary smile? Awww hell naw!

I kept staring in her direction and she repeated herself. "Would you be willing to hug a stranger?"

Lawd. She is serious.

But she was looking at me, not them. And she almost looked a little bit tearful.  So I made a quick decision. Why not? Let's hug it out, man.

I walked over and gave this stranger with the scary big smile a hug. Afterward I step back and notice that she is crying. For real, crying.

"You have no idea. . .no idea how much that meant to me. I get to go home today. . .and I'm so happy. I'm going home."

"That's great," I replied.

This lady was not my patient and I had never seen her in my life. I had no idea why she was hospitalized, and still don't. But what I do know was that she seemed to genuinely need that hug.

"And you know what else?" she gushed, "I got a job! I just found out I got a job." She started tearing up again and began wiping her eyes with the heels of her hands. She took a big sigh and regained her composure. "I'm just happy, that's all. That's why I needed a hug. So thanks for that."

And just like that, she turned and walked down the hall.


Blogworthy indeed.

little superhero brothers need hugs, too.


  1. Definitely blogworthy! As a 2nd grade teacher, I'm lucky enough to be able to start and end each day with hugs.....16 hugs in fact. Folks under estimate the power of a good 'ol hug!!!!!

  2. Indeed! She needed a hug and God must have thought you did too!

  3. Yup, that was blogworthy. Glad she got her hug and went home to a job.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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