I spent some time at the hospital today because that's where the hand clinic is and I still have an injured hand. Injured but healing, actually. See? I'm using two hands.
The hand clinic could be anywhere and going to it is an o.k. reason to find oneself in a hospital. Going to a hospital is, however, extraordinary if you stop to look at and think about it.
I tried to identify what it is that makes the experience so extraordinary and I think at least part of it is the mix of people. There are staff members from all levels of the medical hierarchy. You see them walking, working, talking. But in addition to their jobs, they're people too so they have work and their lives on their minds. There are visitors who come to see people in so many states of sickness and health. You see inpatients walking or being wheeled around. There are people waiting for day surgery and so many more patients that one doesn't see. They include tiny babies born early or and/or with some difficulties. Their visitors are overwelmed, worried parents. I know about them - the babies and parents.
In one brief trip to one floor of the hospital today, I saw almost all of these people. How many stories everyone there has to tell. How much compassion people who spend time there can use. How many diverse people must take comfort from a cup of coffee purchased at the lobby cafe.
Humankind is not perfect but a hospital is a place where you see that society is trying to do something right. People there are trying to make things o.k.
I hope that the young woman who had a little baby bump and was having cramping is o.k. And that her baby stays o.k. too.