Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sun salutations.

 


Her eyes were wild. One looked directly at me, brow furrowed and redundant eyelid heaped in a surly gaze. The other under the control of some other master, wayward and pushed into the corner with mostly muddy sclera showing. But still. I could tell that she was looking at me. Right at me.

"Good morning."

That's how I started each encounter with her. Even though she had lost her nice, flowy words with the stroke, I always could tell that she understood. So I made it a point to "talk regular." Even if she couldn't "talk regular" in return.

"You want me to let some sunlight in here?"  I gestured over to the shade, pulled tight to my left. She nodded. I reached over and began to roll up the long, green, Grady-issue shutter. The morning sun came bursting into the room and we both turned our heads to wince for a bit.

"Too much?" I asked. She shook her head no.

We were mostly waiting at this point for her blood to be thinned out with warfarin. The same heart issue for which she needed blood thinners was the same one that caused her stroke. She'd also need to be cared for in a nursing home and without a method to fund such a thing, that was another challenge hindering her discharge. So the encounters were mostly uneventful. Not very much to talk about or even do.

Still. I asked if everything was okay and then quietly, respectfully examined her body. I'd come to know it well, actually. The mole on her right shoulder, the old cesarean scar on her abdomen now hidden in wrinkled, striated flesh. The ectopic beats of her heart were like a song that plays over and over on the radio and her face was like the crossing guard you see every day in school.

I stopped and took it in, smiling. Was anything different today? No. Not really.

Wait. Except. . . .

"Your plaits came aloose?" I pointed to the cornrow braids on the right side of her head. Eight perfect grey rows of corn with two unruly crops on the right.

She patted the side of her head and nodded hard. Then shook her head and shrugged. We both laughed.

I watched her for a beat and then caught a glimpse of the hygiene kit beside her bed--complete with the tiny plastic comb that came with it. I walked over, picked it up, and then came to her right side.

"You know I got cornrow skills, don't you? You want me to fix this?"

And she nodded.

So I took that tiny comb, parted her hair and I braided. While she stared out that big, open window and hummed. And we both smiled in the direction of that morning sun and all it can bring.

***
Happy Thursday.

35 comments:

  1. short and sweet. i liked this.

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  2. This post.....THIS post right here...... has me crying in the middle of Starbucks where I'm supposed to be working.

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!

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    1. Awww. What a beautiful image, you crying over a latte? Ha ha ha. Thanks for taking the time to show me some love.

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  3. That made me cry. That is one of the most beautiful things you've ever written.

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    1. Wow. .. that's such a high compliment from you. I appreciate your friendship, Sister Moon.

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  4. Happy Thursday..right back to ya and thanks for sharing such a sweet post. Be Blessed!

    -Cassandra

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  5. You are a good woman. This is such a moment of love and grace. If I were that elders family I would be so grateful. Heck I don't know her and I'm still grateful. For you in this world. Bless you.

    I have a question. Will this patient stay in Grady indefinitely since she has no means to pay for nursing home or home care? What are her options?

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    1. First, thank you for that and bless you right back.

      Second, we have a nursing facility for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. This is usually the destination for such patients but admittedly, there can be a wait. It's as sad as it sounds.

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  6. Wow. Somehow I needed that. As I frequently say: thank you.

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    1. And let me just return the favor--thank you, my friend.

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  7. And I join the chorus of thank you and bless your heart! To help another human person on this planet is our highest calling, this I truly believe.

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    1. It was so peaceful, Mary. Me braiding her hair and her just humming. I'm not even sure what she was humming, either. I also realized that even though I don't have hair to braid (my own or kids) -- putting in cornrows is like riding a bike. I hooked her up!

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    2. YES! I'm put in mind of The Color Purple wherein Celie brushes Sug's hair and Sug hums and is at peace. Such a scene of love and care. You rock!

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  8. Guess what?
    New favorite post!!!
    Love,
    Biz

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    1. Ummm, excuse me, little sister. Is this not your 700th time saying that to me?

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  9. You are some kind of special.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

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    1. I adore you, Maria. Thanks, as always, for your support.

      Kimberly, fellow Meharrian

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  10. You have such a beautiful soul. Your patients are so blessed to have you on their side. This, I think, is my new favorite post.

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    1. Patricia Brown JohnsonDecember 13, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      Laurie B...my sentiments too. Thank you for writing what I wanted to say. Beautiful soul in the gradydoctor.

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    1. It's such an honor to work at Grady. That place is so full of Grace.

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  12. Love it! You are a true example of how we all want to be treated by healthcare providers. The wholistic approach is so appreciated, and heals better than when we approach people piecemeal. Nice work, Dr. Kimberly! :)

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    1. Wow. Thanks so much, nurse 8. 'Preciate you.

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  13. This brought tears to my eyes. Of course random acts of kindness do that to me. You honored that lady with your time and your touch. God bless you.

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  14. I've been lurking while reading your blog for some time now. It has been so inspirational and uplifting that I decided to start from the beginning and read each post. Sort of like my own "daily bread". Not sure if you are familiar but this is something my mommom read to me as a young girl. Anywho.... Now that I'm an intern your posts serve as a comforting reminder of many life lessons as well as a reminder of why I did this in the first place. Thank you for continuing to be that beacon of light for all learners at every stage even those of us who are virtual!

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