It’s a beautiful sunny morning, perfect for that early walk around the neighborhood. Get out there and take in a little bit of nature before it gets too late and too windy to enjoy the day.
A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied my father to the Emergency Room of Hospital Calderón Guardia for what we hoped would become outpatient treatment to deal with his health concerns. We filled out all the forms, handed in the identification cards and took a seat in the ‘quarters’ which held the many patients who had gotten there before us. My dad and I are in the know about Caja hospital procedure. Each of us was equipped with enough reading material to suffice the long delay before my dad’s name would be called.
I sat with my book and tried to read. My attention was so frequently caught by some living drama right in front of me that I soon put my book away. It was early in the morning, standing room only and recently-vacated chairs were occupied quickly by newcomers. My efforts to distract my dad with constant chatter were met with silence so I turned my attention elsewhere. I confess I was slightly alarmed by the appearance of several sets of patients in handcuffs being escorted by policemen. One patient, a young woman, disheveled and soiled, appeared to be in the throes of a mental breakdown as she lovingly caressed an equally disheveled and soiled stuffed animal and cried out in pain. It was a heartbreaking scene.
The minutes turned to hours. I diverted my attention from the patients to the doctors, nurses and orderlies who seemed to be chaotically dealing with patients. After observing for a long time, I realized that a system was actually being followed and it made it easier for me to accept the long delay. Finally, it was my father’s turn to be seen. I was glad I was with my 83 year old father for this visit because when questioned by the doctor (whose manner might be described as intrusive rather than inviting) he became reticent and tried to convince us that he felt fine, had made a mistake, and wanted to go home. The test results revealed otherwise and my father was admitted to the hospital where he remained for a few days. He is on the mend at home and our next appointment is at the end of the month.
I asked my father before we went to the ‘public’ hospital to consider going to one of the highly acclaimed private hospitals and be seen right away. He balked and told me that he and my mother had paid into the Caja system their entire working life because they believed in it and expected it to be there for them when they needed it. During our long wait, my father turned to me often insisting I go home. I was unwavering, aware perhaps for the first time, that I have learned so much from him by his example rather than his words. I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service to him at a time when he really needs me. Serving our loved ones, our community, or our country provides a much needed dimension to our lives. Don’t you agree?
My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta