The lovely Miss Wendy needed me awake. The last time I had gotten such an early wake up call was three decades earlier after Wendy had gone into labor. This time around the problem was just as urgent – at least for the moment – but involved a much different sort of pain!
Wendy, who’s up before the sun each morning, was feeling just a little faint and puzzled by a growing pain in her chest. It was the sort of feeling that moved around a bit and the sort of problem that toys with all those existential fears we push aside when night gives way to day.
And it persisted; the pain a pulsing tease, the thoughts a growing concern. Wendy talked and detailed the problem. I listened and diagnosed. We weighed our words and spent a few moments handling the issue in a high-tech sort of way, fishing about the web for answers. All we managed to do, of course, is raise additional questions and scare ourselves silly.
I’m thinking most of us of a certain age have played this little game; measuring out the problem and viewing it from all angles, then trying to figure out exactly what needs to be done. The problem is there’s nothing “exact” about the issue, unless you happen to be a physician and also keep an EKG parked in your closet!
And so it was that the lovely Miss Wendy and I found ourselves in the emergency room of one of the mega-hospitals in our little corner of the world, listening to the beeps and bings of all the gadgetry that defines modern health care today.
Five hours later, the hospitalist – that’s a term I’m thinking Marcus Welby never heard back when doctors made house calls – announced that Wendy was not only fine, but “the healthiest young lady in the entire emergency room.” Let me repeat his diagnosis: Wendy’s fine!
He smiled. We smiled. Hope, yet again, rested easily on the horizon.