Serendipity

I’m a bit behind on my updates, but life — not unexpectedly — has intervened. I anticipated this, and so I’ve allowed for “make up” time as the readings progress. I figure that as long as I keep on a one-play-every-nine-days pace, there will be time enough to read all the works plus the sonnets and poems as well.

As I mentioned earlier, a buddy I met through St. Vincent de Paul is dying in a VA hospital in Los Angeles. Most of the last 48 hours have passed in a blur keeping him company at his bedside: shifting pillows, speaking with nurses, doing whatever was in my small power to make sure he was as comfortable as possible.

When his brother finally relieved me of my post, I was in too much shock and sadness to return immediately to this project, especially in the midst of one of Shakespeare’s lighter comedies. The clash of moods was all wrong.

This was my first encounter with the special brand of bureaucratic healthcare our veterans receive after serving the call and doing their patriotic duty. To say I was dismayed and appalled would be to put my shock and sadness too mildly. It hurts on a profound level that our heroes return in their pain and suffering to a system that treats them like a serial number.

One of my friend’s nurses stands heads and shoulders above the rest, however. I call her his “sexy nurse” because she’s straight out of a Tolstoy novel. Her thick Russian accent and intense, penetrating eyes could melt an iceberg from 200 yards. But it is her compassion and caring that really stand out.

Whenever she was on shift, she treated him like a human being: finding an extra ice cream when it was all he would eat, making sure the doctor knew that one of his pain treatments worked better and needed to be reinstated. Taking the time to check that he wasn’t aggravating a bedsore. Saying “hi” and “how are you” between scheduled visits.

I made it a point to ask her name before I left. Even I, the dedicated Jungian, the Joseph Campbell fan, was not prepared for the answer.

Viola can’t be such a common name in her country, can it?

“Like, from Shakespeare?” I said.

“Twelfth Night,” she replied. “Do you know it?”

Wheels within wheels…

Some days you feel touched by the hand of God. Why that should be… what it’s all for… what it all means in the bigger picture… I have no clue. But in that single moment I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be.

Then again, it could all be just a great big coincidence, a random crossing of paths.

Though I don't believe in coincidences.

It at least gave me something to blog about while I catch up with the reading that didn't get done — and needs to be posted on — by tomorrow.

Thanks for hanging in there, peeps. Kiss the ones you love tonight for me.

And thanks, Viola, for going out of your way to treat my friend like a human being. The little things really do mean a lot.

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2 Responses to “Serendipity”

  1. Wendy Says:

    That is staggering! I’m glad your friend has you and your brother to be there with him. It is a tiring and draining gift you are giving him.

  2. Watching a man die slowly of inoperable cancer hurts every which way — and serves as a reminder that life and death are ultimately not in our power to control. But damn, you wouldn’t think the common courtesies would be so hard to come by!

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