Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Small world... big God

I went to see my knitting buddy, Mrs. C., this morning. As I entered the assisted living home, a gentleman in a wheelchair greeted me and asked who I was there to see. I told him and he said, "She's going home - but I think she hasn't left yet." Then we spoke for a few more minutes and I realized he had to be a man whom my dad had recently met. I asked him if he was Colonel F. and he said that he was, so I told him who I was, and who my father was. I told him Steve served 27 years in the Marine Corps, and he told me briefly of his service in the U.S. Army in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He retired the year Steve enlisted!

Mrs. C. and I visited briefly, but she was bustling about packing and getting ready to go home. I promised to call her in a few days when I get the yarn I ordered for her. We made plans for me to go to her home and knit with her then.

On my way out, I saw Col. F. again and asked about his wife. He urged me to go down the hall to their quarters and see her. I did, but she was napping, so I didn't disturb her. Their suite was lovely and made so warm and cozy with a few beautiful antiques, old wicker furniture with cushions of pretty fabric, and paintings on the walls. The paintings were the type you look at and think, "I'd like to be there, in that picture." I told Colonel F. that I liked the paintings, and as I did, I looked more closely, saw the signatures, and exclaimed, "You or Mrs. F. painted them!" He smiled and said that they both did. They both got degrees in art from UAB. He urged me to come again soon to see Mrs. F. and I said I'd be back on Friday.

Back in March...
Colonel and Mrs F., my knitting buddy, Mrs. C., and my grandmother were all in the local emergency room at the same time on the same day. I went there after I got the message from my mom that Grandmother had been transported by ambulance to the ER and her condition was not good. I took a sock to knit and settled down to wait with Mom to find out what they could do for Grandmother. Mrs. C. was brought into the same ER bay as Grandmother and her son and daughter-in-law, Ann, were there with her. She had been at lunch with friends when she suddenly lost her ability to speak and the doctor was about to start tests to try and determine why that happened. Ann introduced herself and her mother-in-law and asked me what I was knitting and I told her it was a sock. Mrs. C. heard and made gestures to Ann. Ann told me that Mrs. C. crocheted a lot, but she used to knit also. She asked if I would show Mrs. C. my sock. I did, and although Mrs. C. could not speak, she pointed to the stitches, the needles, stroked the knitted fabric, and smiled and smiled. I told her all I could think to tell her about the sock, and about using 2 circular needles instead of 4 or 5 double-pointed needles. Several hours later her ability to speak began to return slowly. I spoke to her again, and ended by saying, "When you're better, I'll come and knit with you." She nodded enthusiastically and said over and over, "Love it! Love it!"

We were in the ER a long time before the doctor decided to admit Grandmother and keep her overnight for observation. Before they moved Grandmother to a room, I walked out of the bay and over to the nurses' station to get out of the way so they could more easily move Mrs. C.'s gurney to get her down the hall to x-ray her. Mrs. F. was standing a few yards away from me talking to the nurses, telling them that she didn't know if her husband had had a heart attack or not. (The nurses obviously knew her, because they loudly and repeatedly addressed her by name.) While I was standing there, about to go back to Grandmother, Mrs. F. finished her conversation, turned, lost her balance, and crashed to the floor in front of me. I rushed over to her and knelt on the floor beside her, murmuring to her to try to be still. A nurse came over and wiped her head - her glasses had broken and cut her temple - and another nurse raced down the hall to get the EMT crew. They told Mrs. F. to lie still, and they'd get her on a backboard, then down to x-ray. I stayed with her until they took her away. I didn't know it, but her husband was in the single bay behind us, and had watched helplessly as it all happened. (He had suffered a heart attack - he told me today.) After they x-rayed Mrs. F. they brought her into the same bay with Grandmother and Mrs. C.

We eventually left the ER and went to Grandmother's hospital room. My aunt and cousin came to see Grandmother, and I went home to get some books and more knitting, as we decided I would stay the night there in Grandmother's room with her. My aunt and cousin left, and Mother got ready to go, too. It was late by this time, and I didn't want her to walk out to her car alone, so I walked her down the hall and out to her car. As we headed towards the exit, we passed a room with the door open and saw Mrs. F. lying in the bed. I said to Mother, "Let's see how Mrs. F. is, " and we stopped, knocked on her door, and went in. We didn't know her and she certainly didn't know us, but I introduced us both to her, and she told us she was Doris F., and I told her that we'd been there with her in the ER when she fell and wondered how she was. She told us that she had broken her pelvis, her shoulder, and her arm, and had a nasty contusion on the side of her face. She was relieved that the doctor thought they could just set the bones and allow her to heal without surgery.

I let her know that I'd be down the hall with Grandmother, and I told her that I probably wouldn't sleep much in the chair, but would pray for her through the night. She thanked me and asked for Grandmother's name so she could pray for her during the night, too. The next day I went into her room again and spoke, met her daughter, expressed the hope that I would someday see her again, and promised to continue to pray for her.

So today I thought how amazing it was that these people are a part of my life again. And I thank God that He makes lives connect in such intricate, surprising, and wonderful ways.



Blogger Jeannine said...

That is such an amazing story, Laura! You are such a kind, compassionate person too. My mother has always worked in geriatrics because she just loves old people, and because of her example I spent various years volunteering in nursing homes. I've always enjoyed listening to the reminisces of elderly people.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh man, that would be awesome if I could play that piano. I would love to do that-I'm looking forward to it already. Too bad I can't take it with me wherever Tom and I move! I think we should invest in a keyboard, just so I can keep practicing;) Thanks for telling them that, and letting me know!

9:46 PM  
Blogger Jennie C. said...

This is such a beautiful story, Laura. I smiled through the whole thing.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so neat, Laura. Thanks for sharing the story. Love, Meg

9:25 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

That is such a great story how God brings us together! Thanks for sharing that!

12:39 PM  

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