We spent 4 hours in emergency this afternoon after Greg had an altercation with a piece of sheet metal. It sliced his bottom eyelid (right), barely missing his eye. Of course I insisted that he get it looked at- I really don’t think he would have done anything otherwise. As it was, a plastic surgeon had to be called in to stitch it up. (Chalk up one for the voice of reason.) While we were waiting, a dear elderly lady, 97 years young, was admitted with an acute cellulitis resulting from a skin tear. This amazing woman, blind, and very hard of hearing, was climbing up on chairs in order to reach items in her cupboard. I couldn’t help eavesdropping as the liason nurse interviewed her to assess her home situation. Living alone. Doing all her own self care. Regretful that she has let the housekeeping slip. Buys her own groceries with the help of her daughter. Manages her own medications. All at the age of 97! I heard her say ‘perhaps I should move into a “home”‘, and I felt like screaming “don’t do it- you are better off where you are!”. Her only complaint was that she was lonely. When I heard that, my heart broke. She missed having conversations- with a mind as sharp as hers, I could understand the loss. Perhaps more than blister-packing her meds, or making sure she had meals-on-wheels, she would have been best serviced by providing a companion. We need flesh-to-flesh interaction with each other- the clasp of hand, and the comfort of an arm around the shoulder. Perhaps even the shoulder to lean upon, the friend to rejoice and weep with. She needed to have someone who would listen to her life, her stories, and do nothing but say “amen”. Her daughter seemed preoccupied and impatient. Of course I saw and heard but a sliver of the reality that was their relationship, and have no reason to make assumptions. The vignette brought home to me, once again, the frailty of our condition. How much we depend on each other for the things that make life worth living. How much is woven into “I and Thou”.
The plastic surgeon would not let me stay- apparently he has picked up several family members from the floor in times past. I had to wait in nervous anticipation, hoping and praying that God would be there to support Greg when I couldn’t be. It was “only a few stitches”, but so close to the eye???? Thank God for guardian angels once again. Greg’s vision is intact, and perhaps a lesson or two has been distilled from the whole experience.