December 06, 2008


My dear friend has been so sad of late. She sits in the corner at the office and stares into nothingness. When I ask what is wrong she just moves her head, slowly, from side to side. My heart tells me that her gesture is not telling me that nothing is wrong but she is telling me she just doesn't know.

Then I ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?" and she tells me she wants to lay down and never get up.

I wrap my arms around her and hold her until the next patient walks through the doors.

We go through the day, answering phones, taking blood pressures, guiding this person or that into a room. Two and three days pass and still my friend is only physically in the space, her spirit and soul have journied off....somewhere....but not here, not in this office, not with these patients and files and chores. She remains as passive and spiritless as a human can be.

She calls in the prescriptions to the pharmacists and even some of them, pausing in the routine of it, ask her what is wrong....but they can't see her head move from side to side...and she lets them return to their tasks.

One bleak morning, the fog is thick, the corners dark. Everytime the door opens the chill creeps in; grabs us. We tell our Family Nurse Practitioner that it is a full morning. Lots of patients coming in, lots! We ask her to "kind-of" expedite her visits with her patients. Oh, when will we learn?

it is 10:30, the waiting room is standing room only, and over-flow has gone into the second waiting room at the back of the clinic. Our FNP is only on her 2nd patient. the patients are starting to grumble and the coughing and sneezing is in need of an orchestra conducter with his wand to try to make some sense and order of it.

My friend jumps off her stool! Jumps! She has hardly moved in days but today she jumps. She grumbles! Grumbles! Grumbles about time and taking too long and wraps her knuckles on the door of room 2! "Time!" she calls through the door.

She briskly walks back to my office.

Suddenly, electrically, a switch from far inside her flips and with a wonderful glow in her eyes, a genuine look of surprise on her face she shouts, "I'm back!, I'm back! I don't know where I went but I'm back!"

We both laughed and danced and rejoiced!

I am secretly relieved that, as in the movies, I never had to slap her!

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