DAILY POST: Take Me to the Moon – How far would you go for someone you love? How far would you want someone else to go for you?
When I was thirty-three years old, my husband was admitted to hospital only an hour or so after leaving the house for work. Before he left for work, he asked me to walk on his back, he was in excruciating pain, he hoped that my footsteps might click something back into place. It did not work and he left for work still in pain.
Gerrit and I owned our own plastic paints company. He was the chemist and I managed the office – a/p, a/r, inventory, orders, payroll, quotes, etc… I would normally arrive at work later than my husband as I made breakfast and lunches for the boys and waited for them board the school bus. That particular morning was no different other than just as I was turning off lights and getting ready to leave for work, the phone rang, it was Winston, “Susan, don’t come in to the office. Gerrit is in an ambulance on his way to the hospital, go directly to the emergency room.”
It was hours after arriving at the hospital before I was able to see my husband. It was also 1987, no cell phones to call our office for a better explanation of what had happened. I used a pay phone to call the office and ask Winston to fill in the missing parts of the story.
“Gerrit,” explained Winston, “was complaining about pain in his back and then suddenly, he exhaled a deep, painful groan and fell to the ground. He was paralyzed! He could not move his legs nor feel anything below his waist…”
I sat in the waiting room for hours and hours, until it was approaching the time when school would be letting out and the boys would be coming home. I did not want them coming home to an empty house, but I didn’t want to leave the E.R. until I knew something about Gerrit’s condition. Just then, in the midst of my worries, a nurse called my name and told me I could see my husband.
She led me through the corridor to an operating room where my husband lay still upon the table, “He’s just had a spinal tap and must remain still.” As she left the room, I rushed to Gerrit’s side and kissed him. He then told the same story as Winston had told me, with the exception that Gerrit’s story included the procedures he had been subjected to after hospital admission – two spinal taps.
Gerrit groaned, “I’m starving, I haven’t eaten anything all day, you’ve got to bring me some food!”
“What do you mean? Like something from a vending machine?”
“No,” he instructed, “you have to go home and get the boys settled, on your way back to the hospital, stop by KFC and bring me some chicken and biscuits.”
“But you’re supposed to lay still, how are you going to eat laying on your back?”
“Don’t worry, just please do this for me.”
I kissed him good-bye and left for home where I would explain to the boys about their dad being in the hospital and to behave while I was gone, they were old enough to be safely left at home alone.
I picked up the KFC food and headed back to the hospital, wondering how on earth I was going to smuggle the food in to Gerrit. The mouth-watering aroma of KFC filled my vehicle, I wondered how no one would notice the scent while I walked through the E.R.? My next concern was, where would I hide the small bucket? My only option was to stuff it under my heavy winter coat and be as inconspicuous as possible, maybe I would look very pregnant.
Somehow, my mission was successful. I simply walked down the corridor, looking like a woman about to give birth, smelling like KFC and entered the room where I had left Gerrit an hour or so earlier. He still lay there and was so glad to see me and smell the food. We ate together, and despite his unknown medical condition, we were able to laugh at our KFC adventure in the E.R.
How far would I go for someone I love? As far as I have to go to ensure their comfort and well-being, even if it involves smuggling KFC into a hospital E.R.