Sing A Song For Unsung Hospital Heroes

Noah benShea is one of North America’s most respected and popular poet-philosophers who recently found himself in the caring hands of unsung heros…

by Noah benShea

I had a pretty good run. I got 45 adult years of running, hiking, walking to the refrigerator, walking to, around, and from love. And then my hip said, it was time to go. Actually it was a great surgeon, who made the diagnosis and mouthed the words, but it was my hip talking, and when pain talks, we all listen.

As of a week ago, I am a bionic man. I have a titanium hip, a buttock and leg the color of an eggplant, and I am already walking. And from diagnosis to operation to physical therapy, I have been blessed. I have been blessed because on this journey I met some amazing people whose daily life is a daily act of talent and heroism conducted with the grace of those who, when asked, say, “I’m only doing my job.”

Scripture has it that it is the good work of good deeds to visit someone in the hospital. People who work in hospital do that good work each day they punch the clock even as good deeds are seldom noted on pay stubs.

So here’s my song for unsung hospital heroes. And while my voice is inevitably off key, I can only trust that my heart’s message hits the high notes for those who in every day life live lives of character at the loftiest heights.

To you and for you:

Thanks for the reassuring smile when I checked in. Last time I checked you probably have done that a thousand times, but sincerity is always original to the moment.

Thanks for being there at night when I was praying to be asleep and you were the angel who checked to see if the blanket was covering my toes, your wings over me from head to toe.

Thanks for reminding me not to be embarrassed about being vulnerable, and that being vulnerable is often a portal to profound experience. Thanks for waving a finger, whispering, and winking, “Honey, we all got stuff and the same stuff.”

Thanks for knowing what my patient number was and that I was not a number.  Thanks for using a purple marker to mark “Yes” on the right hip and wearing yes to life in your eyes.

Thanks for putting two gowns on my wide me so the part of me that was fluttering in the wind had enough sail to catch the wind and get down the hall with my IV unit as a masthead.

Thanks for talking to me about stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with the stuff that brought me to the hospital and everything to do with why we all need to get better, better at who we are, and carry on.

Thanks for making sure you put me to sleep without pain and allowed me to wake amazed when so many of us go to sleep each night with pain and wake in the morn forgetting to thank God and be amazed.

Thanks for each of your incredible talents that have taken years to learn, hone, and put aside when someone just needs you to take their hand and remind them they are not alone.

Thanks for bringing your genius of detail and healing to your workplace, leaving your ego behind and calling this absence of hubris “no big thing” when it is among the biggest of things in life.

Thanks for encouraging me to take one more step and more step but to keep my cane close. Whether we are recovering from hip replacement or replacing an old emotional habit that cripples us, the advice is sound. All of us, at some point, need to lean on some one or some thing.

Thanks for telling me to do all that I could by way of physical therapy but to stop before I did too much. In life and recovery, any aspect of life or recovery, you better like your strengths because you are going to pay for them.

Thanks for telling me that I should never hesitate to call if I need anything, and by your manner reminding me to tell others, who are not in a hospital but are in need, to do the same.

Thanks for making me feel like no one else mattered when you were beside me and everyone matters when I wanted attention right now. Even being a patient requires patience.

For every unsung hero in a hospital, or a nursing home, or a class room, or behind a desk, or lying in bed waiting for a lover or to be loved, or even struck in traffic, thank you. You matter. Know that.

Footnote: My story unfolded at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, thank you folks. My gratitude to my gifted caring surgeon and his team. Blessings all.

Noah benShea Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved