“This is Our Finest Hour?” “I Have a Dream?” No, nothing like that. This is a speech of 2 words I heard other day.
I was in a hospital getting a chest x-ray, a prerequisite for surgery on my broken ankle. It’s been two weeks since it happened, two weeks full of pain, change, and coping. I’ve described how it happened, learned how to get around house on crutches, visited doctors and labs, waited on x-rays, and asked neighbors to get mail and groceries.
I’ve also been put through pre-op battery of tests – blood tests, EKGs, chest x-rays, and discussions with my doctor, who felt best approach was surgery.
In my EQ Alive! program, which trains and certifies EQ coaches, I’ve participated in weekly EQ Check In along with students. We tell each other how we feel physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. We begin each teleclass that way, and listen closely to answers. EQ competencies include emotional expression, and also Integrated Self, being in touch with all aspects of yourself. Most of all it means not engaging in meaningless, “How are you?” “Fine.”
In a shutdown and coping mode, I thought I was being realistic about how I was feeling. I said I was in pain. I said I was physically slow and painkillers had dulled me mentally, and that spiritually things were same as ever. What more was there to say? I never gave it a thought.
So there I was in hospital. I’d been sent to wrong place and walked about ˝ a mile on crutches to find that out. I was accepted, however, thanks to work of a nurse named Lupe with very high EQ who just pushed order on through. And then, mercifully finally in a wheelchair, I’d been wheeled to x-ray waiting area and left in hall.
As I sat there, a woman on a stretcher was wheeled up. I could tell she was sick. Her hair hadn’t been washed in a while and she had a nose tube for oxygen, and a tube in her arm. Her color didn’t look good and she barely moved. She reminded me of my dad last time I saw him in hospital. She was accompanied by two women. The first one went over to sign papers, and other one walked off down hall.
A technologist walked out toward woman on stretcher when I heard speech that touched me so. I think she thought he was coming to take her into x-ray room.
“I’m afraid!” she cried out.
“God love her,” I thought. “So am I!”
I tried to get out of my chair and go to her, but technologist beat me to her. Speaking to her in her native tongue, Spanish, he rushed to her side, took her hand and started soothing her. “Abuelita,” he called her, “little grandmother,” a term of endearment. A nurse brought out a screen to give her privacy and she quieted.
She quieted and I thought: Why is it so hard to get to “I’m afraid”?
Of course I’d been afraid whole time, from moment I heard bones turn in my ankle. I started repeating, “Please don’t let it be broken, please don’t let it be broken.” There was no way to tell, and I was left with pain and fear.
Was it broken? Is this because my bones are getting old and this is just beginning? Will this mean arthritis pain for rest of my life? Will insurance cover it? What on earth is my deductible? How can I ever manage this at home alone? Will it need surgery? General anesthesia? Will I survive it? Will they have to rebreak it like one neighbor says, and put in 6 screws like other one says? What will happen?