Few things in life form deeper human connections than times of struggle. As I sit here and look back over my time in this 4-person room on the 16th floor of the NYU Medical Center, this fact is made all the more abundantly clear.
Listening to the incessant, dull gong of the medical equipment, ringing over the hushed voices of loved ones, reminds you of what really matters in life. It makes you more aware of how you treat those around you and brings into account what you can do to ease the burden of others.
At the end of the day what does anything else matter?
They are moving my Russian neighbor down to the ICU tonight. Apparently he isn’t doing as well as they’d hoped. I gave his wife and daughter a hug and told them I’d be praying for them. It looks like I won’t see the sweet Italian grandmother again either. She came by tonight and asked if I would like her to bring me some of her homemade Italian food for lunch tomorrow. It was almost enough for me to think about delaying my release! She and I had talked earlier in the day, and as she told me stories of growing up in Italy, with fresh food straight from the earth, her thick Italian accent just transported me to a magical place. I can only image the effect of her cooking.
The connections I have made with these people have touched me and I am glad that each of them were a part of this experience. I’d also like to include the staff of the 16th floor in this list. They honestly helped me get through this more than they could know. We shared a lot of jokes and had a lot of fun, even despite the fact that I was hooked up to a chemo bag the whole time. Honestly the care could not have been better and I appreciate everything that they did to make these days go by as painlessly as possible.
My Italian grandfather neighbor just turned out his lights and said goodnight, so on that note I think I’ll join him. I hope everyone has a good night!