She could barely keep two feet on the ground as her mom paid the bill and made the next appointment. She giggled with a grin so wide I could see practically all her teeth, and bounced up and down on her toes, looking all around excitedly. This girl exuded joy! Why? She had just gotten her new hearing aids and could hear everything more clearly than ever before. She had been nervous and hesitant, not knowing what it would be like, but I could tell she was glad she decided to give them a go. Watching her was so much fun. I felt buoyed up by her happiness. I joined in the fun, rustling my papers and clicking the keyboard, “Can you hear this?” “Yes!” she exclaimed with bright, happy eyes. It was easy to laugh and smile with her and her mom.
I remember getting my first pair of glasses as a 2nd grader and being able to see details, tree branches outside, and that there were actually things and people in the distance instead of a bunch of blurs. I remember Christmas mornings with my brother and sister, family vacations, my first real kiss, falling in love with John, having our baby girls, and so many more of those moments that made me want to bounce on my toes and not stop grinning.
Then there was the patient who came out after getting not so encouraging test results. The mood was somber and quiet and I felt the need to be respectful and as kind as I could be. There’s not much to be said and it’s really not my business to pry, but I can tell they had some heavy thoughts on their mind.
I have been there, too. The unknown while waiting for results can be excruciatingly tense and then to get the news you were hoping you wouldn’t get can hit like a punch to the gut. Even if you had a feeling it was coming, it still kind of knocks the wind out of you.
There’s a frazzled mom with several kids in tow, trying to keep them quiet and reasonably still while they wait, fill out paperwork, or simply try to get out the door and to the car in one piece – I can relate to her, too. Why is it no matter where you are, if there is a button, a child will want to push it? How I remember some of those trips to the store with all three of my young girls. There were days. You know what I mean.
When a patient comes to check out after their appointment face beaming, their expression shouting “I’m so relieved” we know it must have been good news for them and we all celebrate. Each of us knows how good it feels to hear good news. Who wouldn’t want that for someone else and be glad to have a little party with them when it comes?
I can so relate to the ones who tear up when they hear the cost of getting to see the doctor or having that much-needed procedure. Oh how I’ve been there, too! To some, that office visit expense is just another line item in the budget, to others you may as well ask them for a million dollars.
We really are so much the same. All these strangers who seem to be becoming my friends. Could it be simply because we are “doing” life together in tiny increments during these brief but often important encounters? It just proves to me how important it is to think about each person’s story, especially before making judgments, because we all have one. No matter what a person’s position, salary, family life, history, or stamina, we are the same. We all hurt, we all want to celebrate good things, we all need reassurance sometimes, we all want to be healthy and live a good, long life. None of us wants to be alone. We all want to be loved.
I’m enjoying my small role in this community of our doctors’ office and the part I can play. I’m loving getting to know some of my fellow human beings, and getting to be a part of little snippets of their lives.
We really are so much the same.